A LUXURY bathroom entrepreneur says wealthy home owners are upgrading their bathrooms rather than moving house.
Ronnie Scott believes the replacement for stamp duty on £1 million plus homes has slowed property sales, as discerning home owners in Edinburgh concentrate on upgrading their existing homes instead.
The businessman recently invested £75,000 to open a new Boscolo Bathrooms showroom in Stockbridge, building on the success of his existing branch in Causewayside on the capital’s south side.
Mr Scott added: “We are seeing very clearly that people with homes worth more than £1m – and are there are many in Edinburgh – are choosing not to sell because of these tax implications.
“Instead many are choosing to invest in their existing home rather than moving and that generally involves a range improvements. That is fortunate for us because an upgraded bathroom is usually top of the list.”
Earlier this year the Scottish Government introduced a new Land and Buildings Transaction Tax to replace traditional stamp duty. It is a sliding scale with the highest charges of 12% applying to properties worth £750,000 and more.
Mr Scott’s experiences support a recent report by upmarket estate agency, Knight Frank, which says a “two-speed” market is now operating in the Scottish capital. It reported that since the introduction of the LBTT, price growth has been driven mainly by the sub-£500,000 property market.
The estate agency found that while prices for properties under the £500,000 bracket rose by 1.1% in the third quarter of 2015, the sales values of properties over £500,000 increased by just 0.2% in the same period.