Bank of Scotland

Scotland's rural property values outperforming urban areas since 2007

20 September 2012

House prices in rural Scotland have outperformed those in urban areas since 2007, according to latest research from Bank of Scotland. In the past five years, the average price of a countryside home has fallen by 14% compared to 20% in urban areas. With an average price of £157,535, properties in rural areas are now worth 20% - or £25,786 - more than their urban equivalents (£131,749). This difference has increased from 12% in 2007.

Over the past decade, the average house price in rural Scotland has increased by 85% - outpacing the 70% rise in urban areas. Rural prices in Scotland also increased more rapidly than elsewhere in rural Britain.
Affordability concerns increase as ‘Most expensive rural location’ goes to Aberdeenshire…
House price increases cause challenges for those looking to purchase rural property, especially first time buyers, as housing affordability concerns have grown in the last decade. At the extreme end of the scale, Aberdeenshire has seen house prices go up by almost £900 per month over the past ten years, representing a decade long growth rate of 119%.

Two other areas have seen average property values more than double over the decade, Moray (110%) and Dumfries & Galloway (106%).

Rising property values have made rural housing less accessible. In 2012 only one in every nine rural local authority districts could be deemed affordable. Areas are classified as unaffordable if the house price to earnings ratio is above the historical average of 4.0. The least affordable areas are Perth & Kinross and Aberdeenshire, where the price of a house is 5.3 times greater than the local average annual income.

It’s not easy to get your first country pile…
First time buyers account for 38% of all mortgage financed purchases in Scotland's rural areas – far fewer than in urban areas where they account for nearly half (47%). The areas with the lowest proportions of FTBs are Scottish Borders (32%), Argyll & Bute (34%), Aberdeenshire (35%) and Perth & Kinross (36%).

Provision of social housing is high in rural Scotland…
East Ayrshire has the highest level of social housing in rural Britain (23%). There are six areas in Britain – five of which are in Wales – where social housing accounts for 5% or less of total housing stock.

Nitesh Patel, housing economist at Bank of Scotland, said:
"Country living is an aspiration for many Scots: the fresh air, the scenery, the slower pace, it all adds to the attraction – but this has its drawbacks. For many of those tempted, the high prices put rural homes out of their reach. First time buyers in particular are affected by high rural property prices, and consequently they account for a far smaller proportion of homebuyers than in urban areas.

“The traditional Scottish countryside home has become less affordable over the past decade and it is proving more and more difficult to find fruitful results when foraging for houses in the country.”

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