The jury is still out on Finance Secretary John Swinney's recent announcement that the Scottish Government plans to scrap stamp duty and replace it with what he called a 'fairer' tax. But then, that depends on where you are on the property ladder.
To be introduced in April 2015 as part of the transfer of greater powers from Westminster under the Scotland Act, those buying homes for more than £325,000 will pay more than they currently do under the existing system. Those paying under that level will pay less, while those buying homes for less than £180,000 will pay nothing, which will benefit first-time buyers.
What does seem fairer is that the proposed new tax will benefit everyone in that it will only be payable on the portion of the price above the threshold, whereas at present, stamp duty is payable on the total price of houses over £125,000.
Carolyn Campbell, associate in Strutt & Parker's Glasgow office, said: "Anything that stimulates the housing market is a good thing and can only be welcomed.
"Stamp duty remains a prominent consideration for buyers and many are amazed by how much they have to pay.
"It is a significant amount of money and we are asked questions about it, often incredulously, almost every day.
"Anything that can be done to soften that blow will help. However, mortgage availability is still a problematic factor."
I AM a fan of what is happening at Knockroon, on the Dumfries House Estate in East Ayrshire, where Hope Homes is building a new neighbourhood inspired by the Prince's Foundation.
The design and quality of the house styles here represents the best value for money I have ever seen and, to my mind, this project should be the role model for sustainable homes of the future in Scotland. But now there's another reason to shout about the project.
Hope Homes and East Ayrshire Council have set up the Knockroon Enterprise Initiative, an education programme which gives pupils aged between 14 and 17 at Auchinleck Academy and Cumnock Academy the opportunity to develop skills.
"We have four pupils working full-time at Knockroon, where they are learning joinery skills from professional joiner John Torbet," explains director Ian Hope, who came up with the idea. "They are designing, building and marketing a range of sustainable garden products ranging from bumble bee nests and bird nesting boxes, to log stores, compost boxes and water butts.
"Many of these were sold by the pupils at the recent Ideal Home Show in Glasgow, which also gave them valuable experience in dealing with the public."
Shaun McCluskey, a pupil at Auchinleck Academy who worked all four days of the show, says: "It was exhausting but fun and I feel it helped me gain confidence and experience the world of work."
Prices for the products ranges from £20 to £99 and the garden items are available from the visitor centre at Knockroon, which is open daily from 11am to 5pm.
The pupils are loving it, the Prince's Foundation and council are enthusiastic, and the goal for this year is to move them up to building wooden garage doors.
Following that, they will build a small one-bedroom detached house, with a design that will be affordable and ultimately be made available to buy for use anywhere, including a garden where it could be an ideal self-contained home.
Corum is selling a two-bedroom first-floor apartment within B-listed Carlung House on the outskirts of West Kilbride.
Built in 1932 in Northumberland stone, this three-storey Elizabethan-styled mansion house is something to behold, with sandstone dressings, mullioned and transformed windows with leaded casements framed in bronze, gable attics, balustrade terrace and projecting two-storey porch.
The interior, which has been converted to make five unique properties, is rich in period detail and includes Austrian oak panelling and ceilings, while the 12-acre garden and woodland setting completes the picture.
The layout comprises L-shaped hall, large living room, 17ft kitchen, two double bedrooms and a sizeable bathroom – but the detail is far from ordinary.
I'm not often moved to wax lyrical about internal doors but these are real beauties in solid oak with stained glass details.
There is oak flooring and period fireplaces, including the master bedroom, which has a real fire. The bathroom has a corner spa bath with multi-function shower, while the fitted kitchen incorporates a breakfast bar and full range of integrated appliances. For sale with Corum's Largs office, offers over £210,000 are invited.
Set in more than two acres of walled garden and grounds, it was built in 1989 and has accommodation over four levels – including a semi-circular conservatory and indoor swimming pool.
There is an adjoining annexe with separate access, which has an open-plan living/dining/kitchen, two bedrooms and bathroom.
From the front it appears inconceivable that this house has three reception rooms, five bedrooms (four with en suite facilities), kitchen/breakfast room, utility, two cloakrooms and a games room, in addition to the annexe.
However, the view from the rear reveals a large curved terrace below, which is the indoor swimming pool. The property also has a double garage, summerhouse and great views across the Devon Valley.
For sale jointly by CKD Galbraith and Knight Frank at a fixed price of £750,000.