High quality homes in central Scotland see sales rise more than rest of the country

The latest analysis say that while there has been no significant growth in values, sales are moving forward and realistic pricing is the key to aligning buyer and seller expectations, against a backdrop of political and taxation challenges.

The region, which includes Clackmannanshire, Fife, Perthshire and Stirlingshire, saw sales increase by 2% year on year to the end of March compared to 1% across the whole of Scotland, according to the research from property firm Savills.

In the prime property sector annual sales reached 458 by the end of March this year, some 14% higher than the five year annual average with Bridge of Allan, Dunblane, Dollar, St Andrews and Auchterarder emerging as prime hotspots.

The report says that high quality properties in these locations continue to attract strong interest, due to their excellent schools, transport links and services.

Prime values in country areas have remained stable. ‘Country houses now offer extraordinary value for money compared to properties both elsewhere in the UK and in Edinburgh,’ said Faisal Choudhry, head of Scotland residential research at Savills.

‘Wealthy home grown buyers and those from outside Scotland are beginning to take advantage of this affordability, particularly in locations within easy reach of the cities. The weak sterling has contributed to a surge in the number of wealthy international buyers looking for trophy properties in Scotland,’ he said.

The overall central Scotland market was led by Clackmannanshire, where transactions increased annually by 16%, albeit from a low base and house building across Perthshire more than doubled last year, underpinning the overall 5% annual growth in transactions.

The report shows that Perthshire’s activity levels have picked up significantly, particularly in the Loch Tay area and the countryside surrounding Perth while activity in Fife remained stable, although the new build market as well as price bands from £200,000 to £400,000 and £600,000 to £800,000 bucked the trend.

Despite the introduction of the extra 3% Land and Buildings Transaction Tax for additional properties, the market remains resilient in holiday home hotspots such as Elie and St Andrews.

While the overall number of residential transactions in Stirlingshire fell slightly, a positive reversal of fortunes took place in its prime market. The 124 prime transactions recorded in Stirling was the highest annual figure in five years.

The million pound market, which is a small but important sector of the central Scotland market, saw 19 such transactions during the year ending March 2017. This is slightly higher than the 16 annual average over the last five years.

Eight of the million pound transactions were across Perthshire, mainly in the Auchterarder area. The selling price achieved by Savills for Tower of Lethendy in Perthshire was the highest for a residential property in Scotland since the peak of the market in 2007.

‘As the process to leave the EU is unfolding, prime values in Scotland will remain stable in the short term due to market sensitivity. However, price growth will continue to take place in the market hubs of Edinburgh and Glasgow,’ said Choudhry.

‘Across Scotland, we expect strong demand for high quality stock in areas with good schools and transport links to the market hubs. Realistic pricing will be key to aligning buyer and seller expectations. Over time, greater political and economic stability will boost sentiment and we expect this to provide the trigger for a recovery in values,’ he added.