The Scottish property rollercoaster

07.12.21 2 minute read

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To say the Scottish property market has been a rollercoaster ride over the past two years would be an understatement. No-one could have predicted the impact that Covid would have as it emerged in early 2020, followed by market pessimism, then tentative optimism fuelled by our cautious re-emergence, and the subsequent resurgence of the market in early 2021.

Current direction of travel

Dipping into the most recent Registers of Scotland Property Market Report, to give you an indication of the current direction of travel, the average residential property value (taking into account all residential property types – detached, semi-detached, flats etc.) for the year 2020 to 2021 was £194,000, while the total value of the residential market in Scotland hit £18.5bn.

The average detached residential property value for Scotland now sits at £309,000. The rural residential and prime markets have performed incredibly well, driven by a broad desire to relocate from urban areas and make the most of the additional space (both indoor and out) that rural living provides.

Perthshire, and particularly Highland Perthshire, has proven tremendously resilient in the face of the pandemic. Even before Covid, hot spots in and around popular locations such as Dunkeld, Pitlochry, and Blair Atholl were outperforming the rest of the county. Perthshire, as a whole, has recorded a five-year increase in average prices for detached residential property of 17.4%, with an 11.96% increase over the past year alone.

Angus faired similarly well with a five-year increase of 17.4% and an annual increase of 11.96%. Aberdeenshire was more muted, but this is perhaps understandable given the series of industry-related shocks it has endured, recording a 6.1% increase over the five-year period and just 0.96% in the last year. The north of the country has also performed well with five-year growth in Moray reported to be at 11.01% and an annual increase of 5.6% while the Highlands comes in at 19.17% over the last five years and 10.97% annually. Fife has shown slightly better numbers with increases of 20.2% over the five years and 13.5% on last year.

The south and west have also done very well with the Borders recording the largest annual increase of our selection with a whopping 22.86% and a five-year increase of 21.16%. The annual increase is perhaps inflated due to a temporary dip the previous year, making it look a little bit better than it might otherwise have been.

Dumfries & Galloway enjoyed a five-year increase of 19.8% and an annual jump of 13.28%, while Argyll & Bute has done exceptionally well over the same period recording growth of 28.25% with a very impressive annual rise of 20.97%.

The very top-end of the residential market, i.e. £1m+ sales, has had a record-breaking year totalling £382.6m. While Edinburgh continues to dominate, there has a been a resurgence in Glasgow and Aberdeen where this market all but dried up, while the ever-popular St Andrews was at the vanguard outside of these traditional city powerhouses. There were some notable sales in other rural areas which tend to centre around marquee country residences.

Busy farmland market

Non-residential sales equated to a total value of some £2.8bn in 2020-2021 with the forestry, agricultural and land sectors producing a combined total of £832 million. Total forestry sales (both publicly marketed and those sold privately) numbered 176 with a combined value of £185,556,226. Agricultural sales numbered 451 with a total value of £201,296,422.

The forestry market value represents a marked 86% increase from £99.5m last year while the agricultural total is down 15.18% from £237m.

Despite the drop in total value, the farmland market has been busy, or at least Bidwells has been busy, with a five-fold increase in purchases / sales instructions spread across the Highlands, Moray, Aberdeenshire, Angus, Perthshire, Fife, Argyll, Dumfries & Galloway and the Scottish Borders.

Conventionally, farm-scale sales tend to be cyclical with the majority launched to the market in early-to-late spring and through the summer when they will obviously be looking their best. We have found that careful and accurate pricing (all of our agents are chartered surveyors and RICS-registered valuers) coupled with an occasional break from conventional launch dates has resulted in successful sales achieving impressive premiums.

With new properties lined-up to launch in the new year, our highly qualified and experienced teams are here to realise the full potential of your property whether buying, selling or adding value through development, diversification or planning gain.

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Ralph Peters

Head of Rural, Scotland

A firm but fair approach has earned Ralph the enviable reputation as the ‘go to’ expert on rural property issues.

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