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2022 Breaks Records for Scotland’s Luxury Property Sales

February 14, 2023 Residential Conveyancing

The Scottish Legal News has today published an article citing – 2022 being a record-breaking year for Scotland’s high-end property market. In an article published today, they highlighted the impressive performance of luxury property sales and the increasing popularity of million-pound homes in Scotland.

Contrary to reports of certain media outlets on the effect the cost of living crisis and economic uncertainty would have on the housing market, 2022 seems to have been the exception for houses on the prime end of the market. We’ve recapped the key points from the article below.

Last year, the Scottish housing market saw a record-breaking number of sales exceeding £1 million, with 504 transactions passing the landmark price, according to a new report from property firm Rettie & Co. The firm was involved in more than one in five of these transactions, and the data shows that the number of £1 million-plus sales across Scotland surpassed 419 in 2021, smashing the previous high point. In fact, just two years ago in 2020, there were 280 £1m+ sales in Scotland, which was a record at the time. In this period, the Scottish £1m+ market has risen by 80%.

Simon Rettie, managing director at Rettie & Co., said that 2022 saw another surge in the number of prime residential transactions throughout Scotland. “We are now seeing a pattern emerge where £1m+ houses are spreading more widely from the previous core areas of Edinburgh and Glasgow, with St Andrews and East Lothian showing strong gains as they remain very desirable places to live with a limited number of prime houses coming to market.”

While the record volume of £1m+ sales in 2022 is partly the result of the “fiscal drag” caused by inflation, which naturally moves the value of a property up into a higher category, it has also led to an expansion of the Scottish £1m+ market in terms of both number and geography. In fact, there are now 63 postcode areas in Scotland that have recorded £1m+ sales in the past three years but had no £1m+ sales in the preceding three years. Some of these £1m+ locations are the result of natural price movements in pressurised markets, such as in Edinburgh suburbs, while others show the emergence of new demand, such as in Fife, particularly in the hinterland around St. Andrews and the East Neuk.

One of the major trends in the Scottish property market over the past two years has been the increase in demand for space as a result of increased working-from-home and lifestyle preferences. This has led some buyers to seek country lifestyles, which sparked a rise in sales in rural towns and regions that accounted for almost 25 per cent of £1m+ sales over 2020 and 2021. While rural living still accounts for around 22% of £1m+ sales, the majority of the market remains in urban areas. One of the trends that has emerged initially in 2021 but has cemented itself in 2022 has been the rise of £1m+ sales in Edinburgh’s suburbs.

Historically, Edinburgh’s New Town has consistently topped the charts as the home of £1m+ sales in Scotland, making up as much as 39% of Edinburgh’s £1m+ sales back in 2016. Even in 2020, the New Town represented just under a quarter of £1m+ sales in the capital. However, in 2021, the New Town lost its crown to West Edinburgh, and last year, the Southside came top of the £1m sales ranking, with the New Town tied for second place.

This change in the concentration of £1m+ sales in Edinburgh can be attributed to a couple of trends in the market. First, there has been increasing pressure and demand for family housing within the city, especially within desirable neighbourhoods with high-quality housing and good school catchments, such as the Southside. Another key reason has been new build development. In 2021, the CALA Homes development at Donaldsons brought a unique and high-quality urban lifestyle to the city. In 2022, the Craighouse development delivered high-specification townhouses living in Craiglockhart.

Scotland’s high-end property market had a remarkable year in 2022, defying some expectations of a slowdown due to economic uncertainties. The conveyancing process can be complex, but with the right support and guidance, buyers can navigate it successfully and secure their dream homes.

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