Scottish housing market most affordable in UK

The Scottish housing market has seen a mixed performance over the last few years due in the main to concerns regarding potential independence and economic growth. This together with the general Brexit concerns has seen Scottish housing prices subdued of late but there are some bright spots amongst a dark cloud.

Edinburgh property prices

For those who follow the Scottish housing market it will come as no surprise to learn that based on a single square metre of living space the average price paid in Edinburgh now stands at £2492. When you consider the figure was just £808 per square metre back in 1997 this is a mighty impressive performance. These figures do not include external space but they do give an indication of how markets have performed. Indeed Edinburgh is the only city/town north of the border to have an average square metre value in excess of the UK average of £2260.

Edinburgh is by far and away Scotland’s most innovative business orientated city having attracted not only financial services but an array of other growing industries. Like London it should really be treated as an independent market because it is often so detached from the general Scottish housing market that comparisons are pretty much irrelevant.

Elsewhere in Scotland

The data was collated by Bank of Scotland and while Edinburgh is head and shoulders above any other town or city it is interesting to see the Aberdeen is still up there. The average price of a square metre of living space in Aberdeen works at the £2029 with smaller towns such as Inverurie and Dalkeith not too far behind. The reason Inverurie and Dalkeith are so prominent is because they are in easy commuting distance of Aberdeen and Edinburgh respectively.

It was also interesting to see that of the 37 Scottish locations used in the research a stark geographical divide emerged fairly quickly. Figures show that seven of the top 10 most expensive places were on the east coast while eight of the top 10 lowest priced houses per square metre were located in central/western Scotland. This may surprise many people because Central Scotland, otherwise known as the “central belt”, is often described as a prosperous area of the country.

Other interesting facts

Wishaw in North Lanarkshire was the cheapest area with housing costs equating to £1027 per square metre although Larkhall, Irvine, Airdrie, Dumfries and Kilmarnock were not too far behind. The most prosperous area over the last five years was Dunfermline with prices increasing from £1185 per square metre in 2012 up to £1416 today. Overall the Scottish property market has for some time now underperformed the rest of the UK and with political and independence uncertainty rife it is difficult to see any major improvement in the short to medium term.

Useful comparisons

When you compare the most expensive area in Scotland, i.e. Edinburgh, to Wishaw in North Lanarkshire the gap between the top and bottom of the Scottish housing market is laid bare. It is highly likely that Edinburgh will continue to lead the way in the Scottish housing market and there may be some interesting opportunities if Scotland is able to retain EU single market membership while the rest of the UK exits. Could we see financial companies using Scotland as a steppingstone into the European Union? Or will the UK government ensure that the whole of the UK is ripped from the grasp of the European Union once Brexit negotiations have been concluded?

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