Scotland completes record year for million-pound home sales

There was an unprecedented demand for Scottish property across the board over the last year, including for homes worth more than a million pounds, the latest statistics from Savills have revealed. 

Scotland completes record year for million-pound home sales

Cameron Ewer

According to the figures, this section of the market grew by 31% last year compared to a figure of 22% for Great Britain as a whole and 9% for London. A total of 2,308 additional homes are now worth a million pounds or more in Scotland, an expansion fuelled by a record number of sales at that level last year.

However, the pool of million-pound properties in Scotland continues to be small. Whereas 9% of all houses in London are valued at £1 million or more, this compares to just 0.4% across Scotland. Whereas London accounts for 48% of all million-pound plus houses across Great Britain, Scotland accounts for only 1.4%.

Relatively limited values in Scotland have been exacerbated by the persistently low level of stock on the market at one million pounds or above: an enduring feature of the pandemic. Buyers are competing in a crowded market and Scottish properties at this level are not staying on the market for long, with demand coming from all over the UK and beyond (online searches for Scottish property on Savills website has increased by 13% this month). The comparative value for money on offer north of the Border means that one million pounds will buy you a beautifully appointed six-bedroom house in extensive gardens, just outside Edinburgh. That’s the same price as a 450 square foot, one-bedroom apartment in London’s W1 postcode.

Cameron Ewer, head of Savills residential in Scotland said:  “Demand outstripping supply has become a self-perpetuating cycle: many buyers looking to downsize from these larger properties tell us they are factoring in the relatively high levels of LBTT payable in Scotland. In addition, they see that there is very little choice on the market to enable them to move on, so they are delaying putting their million pound homes on the market.”

Faisal Choudhry, head of residential research in Scotland said: “Scotland’s market expansion at the top-end was fuelled by 442 transactions above £1m during 2021, a record year. This includes the highest price ever paid for a residential property in Scotland (a seven-bedroom home in The Grange, Edinburgh), a record that has stood for 14 years and also the highest price ever paid for a flat in Scotland (a penthouse at the Hamilton Grand development overlooking the 18th hole of the Old Course in St Andrews). With Edinburgh continuing to dominate Scotland’s top end market, some areas have seen more activity than ever before.”

Edinburgh dominates

The capital recorded 244 transactions above £1m, including six of Scotland’s 10 above £3m. The majority of second hand million-pound plus activity over the last year was in the inner suburbs of Grange, Morningside and Merchiston. Nearly all of the city’s prime neighbourhoods saw record numbers, with Murrayfield and Trinity standing out. Million-pound transactions averaged in the single digits here before the pandemic, but last year, Murrayfield saw 44 and Trinity 20.

New build development’s at Donaldson’s by CALA and City & Country saw 17 million-pound sales in 2021. Outside Edinburgh, East Lothian’s record 31 transactions were mainly concentrated in North Berwick, Haddington and Gullane.

Greater Glasgow expands

The city area of Glasgow saw a record 28 million-pound plus transactions over the last year, mostly in the West End and Park Areas. Here, Kingsborough Gardens and Park Circus recorded seven transactions between them. In the suburbs, the sought-after Whitecraigs area of Giffnock dominated million-pound activity in East Renfrewshire. In the north, top-end activity in Bearsden and Milngavie reached pre-pandemic levels, with Bearsden’s sought-after Roman Road witnessing million pound activity for the first time in seven years.

Heartland leads country areas

Jamie Macnab, Savills head of country houses, said: “County houses traditionally take longer to sell, with a more limited pool of buyers than urban locations. However that turned on its head during the pandemic and the country sales market had a record year with 83 million-pound plus sales in total: people joined the race for space, seeking value for money and a more balanced lifestyle. Owning a large Scottish country house is now very much back in fashion.”

Scotland’s Heartland saw 53 million-pound plus transactions over the last year, spread over a number of towns and villages. Whilst St Andrews dominates Fife, there was a rise in Elie and Earlsferry. Perthshire saw top-end sales in the city area of Perth, Pitlochry and Gleneagles, whereas Bridge of Allan, Dunblane and Strathblane contributed to Stirlingshire’s share of the Heartland’s million-pound market.

Rest of Scotland

Million-pound plus activity in other parts of Scotland, though limited, was at its highest level in over a decade. Significantly, the Aberdeen area saw 16 top-end transactions in 2021, the highest annual number for this time period since 2015.

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