A decade of Scottish property prices

by Mark Hordern, GSPC

12 June 2015

Property prices across Scotland reached a new high in the final quarter of 2014-15, according to data from Registers of Scotland. Their ten-year overview of the Scottish property market has revealed some intriguing trends and statistics regarding house prices and market activity.

In total, the Scottish residential housing market has generated just over £149.3 billion in sales over the last decade. During this period, house prices experienced four periods of growth bookended by periods of relative stability. Although sales volumes are now returning to levels not seen since 2008, they remain substantially below historic highs due in large measure to tighter mortgage lending criteria.

The Registers of Scotland data is unique in covering every property transaction - even those where no mortgage was required to facilitate the purchase. Indeed, cash sales now equate to 35.8% of the market, compared to just 17.3% back in 2005-06.

Regardless of funding vehicles, the average house price in Scotland has increased by 35% since 2005. A 6.2% rise during the most recent year has established a current average of £167,396. However, this headline figure masks significant regional variations. While all of Scotland's 32 council regions have seen house prices increase, Glasgow's rose by just 7.2% in the last decade whereas Aberdeen City experienced an 87.8% uplift in average prices.

Another surprising statistic involves a 70% increase in the number of residential properties selling for over a million pounds. Six of the most prolific postcodes for million-pound sales are in Edinburgh, with one in Aberdeen, two in Glasgow and one in South Lanarkshire - covering part of East Kilbride and the wealthy village of Thorntonhall.

As well as hosting the postcode with the highest proportion of million-pound property sales (EH12), the Edinburgh market also dominates these figures in terms of overall property value. Over the last year, over £2.64 billion of property was sold inside Edinburgh City Council's boundaries - more than in 14 other council regions combined. Total transactions in Edinburgh carried almost twice the value of those in Glasgow, which saw a 36% drop in market value compared to 2005-06.

By comparing the RoS data with information from the Office of National Statistics, it's possible to determine that North and East Ayrshire are currently the most affordable areas for homebuyers, with average prices of £120,400 and £110,277 respectively. By contrast, homes in Aberdeenshire sell for nine times the local median annual income, compared to a Scottish average of six times the median annual income of £21,770.

In terms of property types, terraced houses have experienced the highest price increases, although flatted dwellings remain the dominant property style in Scotland. Over the last decade, flats accounted for over 41% of all residential sales, with average prices of £138,171 rising from £105,282 in 2005-06. It's worth noting that the majority of property sales in Scotland over the last ten years have been between £100,000 and £250,000 in value, which suggests affordability levels have remained fairly stable even during the various highs and lows of the housing market.

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