The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Thursday, 10 September 2015

House price growth in Scotland gathers pace as market conditions tighten

Acceleration in Scottish house price growth was reinforced by a failure of supply to pick up during August, according to the latest RICS UK Residential Market Survey. 

Prices continued to increase last month, with a net balance of 43% more respondents reporting price rises and firm growth being seen across all areas of the UK. Further RICS analysis, using ONS data as the comparator, indicates that prices now look likely to rise in the region of 6% across the UK over the course of 2015, compared with 3% predicted at the beginning of the year. The strongest price growth is forecast in Northern Ireland, where prices are now anticipated to rise by 11% throughout 2015.  Scotland look set align with the UK trend (5% forecast), with 28% more chartered surveyors expecting prices to continue rising in Scotland over the next three months. 

RICS Scotland director Sarah Speirs, said:  “Given current market conditions, the latest data unsurprisingly shows house prices continuing to rise, and at an accelerating pace. As the Scottish Government increases investment in initiatives such as Help to Buy, which further stimulates demand while failing to address the critical issue of housing supply, more needs to be done to increase and expand housing supply. 

“Despite reported price growth, the agreed sales balance in Scotland edged upwards and demand remains steady, but a more robust recovery in activity is continuing to be held back in part by the lack of stock on the market.”

At the national level, new buyer enquiries increased for a fifth month in succession, with 22% of respondents reporting a rise in demand, led by significant improvements in the West Midlands, Wales and the North West. In Scotland the increase in August was more modest but this follows much stronger increases in demand through the back end of 2014 and the early part of this year. New instructions, however, have yet to record any meaningful upturn since the middle of 2013, pushing average stock levels to record lows across the UK. 

RICS economist Michael Hanley, commented: “While the UK housing market has seen some substantial volatility in demand over the last 18 months, the most consistent feature has been a distinct shortage of new instructions. With respondents reporting another fall in appraisals during August, and looking at general market conditions, we have no reason to believe this will change in the near term. Therefore, despite the fact that demand has been picking up in recent months, we have lowered our forecast for transactions for 2015 from 1.25 million to 1.2 million.”

In the lettings market, tenant demand in Scotland remained firm, outstripping the modest pick-up in new landlord instructions once more in the process. Accordingly, rents are expected to increase in the near term, with 20% of respondents predicting a rise in rents during the next three months.

RICS housing market survey is the longest running monthly survey of house prices in the UK, collecting data since January 1978. The survey is cited by the Bank of England's monetary policy committee at its monthly interest rate setting meetings.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Top trainers plot Ayr raid

By: Iain Ferguson 

MOST of the leading training operations in the country are planning a massive Ayr raid, with powerful teams of horses heading from the south to plunder the top prize-money on offer at the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup Festival at Ayr Racecourse later this month.

[The £50,000 Shadwell Stud EBF Stallions Harry Rosebery Stakes is  
the target for Al Shaqab’s Easton Angel, trained by Michael Dods.] 

Godolphin, Hamdan Al Maktoum, Qatar Racing and Al Shaqab Racing have so far this season won more than £8 million in prize-money between them, and will be looking to add to that by taking some of the Ayr riches at the Festival which runs from Thursday 17 September until Saturday 19 September. 

Al Qatar Racing won the Group 3 William Hill Firth Of Clyde Stakes last year with the Ann Duffield trained Dark Reckoning, and will be bidding to retain it with Thursday’s Salisbury winner La Rioja from the Henry Candy yard. This filly looks an exciting prospect, and connections are keen for her to land Scotland’s only group race, which has £65,000 in the prize fund. 

The £50,000 Shadwell Stud EBF Stallions Harry Rosebery Stakes is the target for Al Shaqab’s Easton Angel, trained by Michael Dods, while the £180,000 William Hill Ayr Gold Cup is the race that Hamdan Al Maktoum has pencilled in for both Mubtaghaa, trained by Willie Haggas, or Tanzeel, from the Charles Hills yard. 

And the famous blue silks of Godolphin will be represented in several races at the Festival, including the £65,000 William Hill Doonside Cup which they have won several times over the past 10 years. 

Top Yorkshire based trainers Richard Fahey, David O’Meara and Mark Johnston are all sending powerful strings of horses to Ayr, and Fahey trains Don’t Touch, the current 10/1 ante post favourite for the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup. 

The indications are that the 2015 Festival will boast the highest quality of runners ever, and that can be attributed to the massive £660,000 prize money on offer. 

Ayr Racecourse managing director David Brown said: “We took the decision to significantly increase prize-money at the Festival this year in the hope of attracting some leading horses from top stables and boosting the quality of runners. 

“Already various trainers and owners have been stating their horses will be coming to Ayr later this month, and this should greatly add to the spectacle and quality of Scotland’s most prestigious Flat Festival.” 

Top youngsters heading to Ayr 

SOME of the country’s leading juvenile horses will be heading to Ayr later this month with trainers eyeing some of the excellent prize money on offer at the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup Festival. 

There are no fewer than six races for the youngsters over the three days (17-19 September) including the Group 3 William Hill Firth Of Clyde Stakes with £65,000 in the prize fund, the Shadwell Stud EBF Stallions Harry Roseberry Stakes, a Listed Race worth £50,000 and two valuable nursery handicaps. 

Michael Dods has the Harry Rosebery mapped out for Easton Angel, who runs in the famous Al Shaqab Racing colours. The horse came second in the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot and could come up against the Martyn Meade trained Kurland who finished fourth at Ascot. 

And Ann Duffield, the North Yorkshire based trainer, has stated she has an Ayr race in mind for her flying filly Rosina, and it’s likely to be the Shadwell Stud Nursery Handicap on Friday 18 September. A winner of two nursery handicaps at Ripon and Beverley, this will be a step up in class for the filly, but one she is entitled to take. 

Henry Candy said after his filly La Rioja won the Group 3 Dick Poole Fillies Stakes at Salisbury that the William Hill Firth Of Clyde Stakes would be her next target, and Richard Fahey, who sent out subsequent dual Group 1 winner Garswood to win the Harry Rosebery Stakes in 2012, and who has a good record with two year-olds at Ayr, is likely to aim Mayfair Lady to the Firth of Clyde - Scotland’s only Group race. 

Leading owner Hamdan Al Maktoum, who is sponsoring four races on the Friday, is certain to have several runners in the two year-old races sporting his famous blue and white silks, and will be keen to land the Harry Rosebery Stakes. 

Ayr have invested £180,000 across the two year old races at the Festival, and racecourse managing director David Brown said: “As a track we are proud to be able to say that horses that have gone on to have distinguished careers winning Group 1s were introduced to racing at Ayr. 

“This year we have upped the prize-money for some of the two year old races and it looks as if we will be rewarded by seeing some of the UK and Ireland’s leading juveniles in action at Scotland’s flagship flat festival.” 

For further information please contact Iain Ferguson on 01292 294972 or 07795 565691. 

Ayr Racecourse and the associated Western House Hotel are Founder Members of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

2460 visitors and rising at Next of Kin exhibition at Rozelle

The Next of Kin Exhibition at South Ayrshire Council’s Rozelle House in Ayr has attracted more than 2,460 people since it opened in July. The exhibition gives visitors a great insight into how the First World War affected South Ayrshire and Scotland. 

[Pictured: Making poppies – it’s harder 
than it looks, but Councillors have a go.]

The latest activity as part of the exhibition was a poppy craft session. This free activity was an opportunity for visitors to learn how to knit, crochet and create poppies. 

[Pictured: – Poppies take shape.]

The scarlet poppy has a long association with Remembrance Day as the poppy was one of the only plants to grow on the otherwise barren battlefields of northern France and Flanders in 1914.

[Pictured: The result of all that concentration.]

Councillor Bill Grant, South Ayrshire Council’s Economic Development, Tourism and Leisure Portfolio Holder said: “The Next of Kin exhibition is both inspiring and humbling and pays tribute to those people from South Ayrshire and Scotland whose lives were affected by the First World War. 

“The poppy is a very powerful symbol and was adopted by The Royal British Legion as a focus for their appeal to support people who have served in the British Armed Forces. 

“Making the poppies was an amazing experience although it was not as easy as it looked! I would encourage everyone to go along and see the exhibition, you will not be disappointed.”

The exhibition, which runs until 28 September, includes objects from official and private sources, including items passed from generation to generation which are of immense sentimental value to their owners. 

The exhibition was previously on display at the National War Museum in Edinburgh Castle and is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), the National Museum of Scotland as well as the Scottish Government. It looks in detail at individual stories, the impact of the war on servicemen and women and their families back home in Scotland. Objects on display include postcards and letters, photographs, medals and memorial plaques. 

Many related activities are taking place such as an opportunity to trace your family history back to WW1.

For more information about the exhibition or the related activities CLICK HERE. 

The exhibition is open from Monday to Saturday 10am to 5pm, Sunday 12 noon to 5pm. 

South Ayrshire Council is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.