Number of rural estates sold in Scotland doubled in 2015

Despite challenges facing the rural property sector in Scotland, including political and economic uncertainty, more than double the number of rural estates sold this year compared with 2014.

Research from real estate firm Savills reveals quality and diversity of field sport and conservation were the main drivers for purchase in 2015, with viewers coming from the length and breadth of the UK, the Middle East, the US, Belgium, Sweden and the Netherlands. 

‘The estate market has shown a significant increase in activity this year, despite the publication of the draft Land Reform Bill in June,’ said Evelyn Channing, a Director in Savills Edinburgh office specialising in the sale of rural estates.

The figures show that so far this year, some 20 estates totalling 118,000 acres have sold or are under offer at an accumulative asking price of £63 million, more than double the number sold in 2014 but equivalent to 2013.

‘Almost a third of the estates sold this year were launched prior to 2015.  Last year’s referendum resulted in a quieter market in 2014 and deterred many potential sellers from coming to the market,’ explained Channing.

‘Savills has handled over a third of the estates sold on the open market this year. Around 50% of our buyers have been British, in contrast to the past few years when the majority of purchasers were from overseas,’ she added.

The research also suggests that in the current climate, buyers appear to be taking comfort in being in competition with others on the open market.  Savills estimates that only 15% of sales in 2015 were conducted privately, considerably less than in previous years.
‘No market thrives on uncertainty, and there was a sense of trepidation from buyers, sellers and indeed selling agents at the start of the year, with minds being focused on the ‘what if’s’ of Land Reform,’ Channing pointed out.

‘However, the way ahead has become significantly clearer in recent months and we are anticipating the return of confidence in the estate market in Scotland will lead to further increased activity in 2016,’ she concluded.