Stewart Saunders failure 'a one-off'

FEARS of a domino effect from the collapse of Scottish estate agent Stewart Saunders have been dismissed by property experts, who say the housing market north of the Border is still in rude health.

The agent, which had operated from Edinburgh's New Town for more than 30 years, went into liquidation on Monday, citing an impact from the credit crunch and a downturn in the housing market.

But industry insiders yesterday said Saunders' failure was likely to be a "one-off" and did not suggest the property market was in trouble.

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One source told The Scotsman: "The word on the street is that the Edinburgh market and Scotland generally are pretty safe, and I would look beyond the credit crunch for what happened to this business.

"The demand for property in Edinburgh definitely still outstrips supply."

Liquidator Tom MacLennon of Tenon Recovery agreed that the problem was not likely to be widespread, saying Saunders' troubles had stemmed from a downturn in the new-build market.

He said: "They saw a very significant downturn in sales in recent months. However, the majority were in the new-build end of the market and I don't think it's a wide ranging commentary on the market as a whole."

About 45 of Saunders' properties, and the company name, have been put on the market for other agents. A sale is expected today.