ABERDEEN’s status as one of Scotland’s wealthiest regions has been gilded by a new study which shows sales of properties worth £1 million or more have nearly doubled in the last five years, compared to a sharp drop across the country as a whole.
Research by estate agents Savills reveals that the most expensive homes in the oil-rich North East are more sought after than ever before. Whereas just 44 properties with seven-figure price tags traded hands between 2003 and 2008 in the Aberdeen area, the number shot up to 87 over the past five years, an increase of 98 per cent.
The high demand has been attributed to the success of the energy sector, with a growing number of new buyers hailing from the likes of the US and the Middle East.
Nationwide, however, the top end of the property market is far from buoyant. The research, based on statistics from the Registers of Scotland, the national land and property register, highlights a drop of 22 per cent over the same period, from 839 sales to 635.
The Savills Spotlight report on the Aberdeen area shows that the majority of sales of houses worth £1m or above over the past ten years have been made in the AB13 and AB15 postcodes, districts covering West End, Bieldside, Cults and Milltimber. Together, these areas accounted for 63 per cent of all transactions.
The rude health of the top tier of properties in the region is mirrored by a rising average house price, again at odds with Scotland as a whole.
While the national average of £155,304 remains unchanged from last year, Savills pointed out that the average price in the combined Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire council areas has grown by 5 per cent to £203,534.
In Edinburgh, the number of £1m house sales fell from 402 to 300, with a similar drop in Glasgow from 145 sales to 103 over the period. There were also sharp declines in the Borders – where sales fell to ten from 32 – and East Lothian, which witnessed a decrease from 41 to 17.
Faisal Choudhry, associate director of Scottish residential research at Savills, said Aberdeen’s soaring sales had been “exceptional” and added: “The strength of the energy sector is apparent in the origins of overseas buyers, many of whom come from locations such as Scandinavia, the Middle-East, Australasia and the United States.”
Savills said the million pound house market in Scotland continued to be “suppressed by stamp duty thresholds and a lack of home-grown buyers,” with an “increasing reliance on purchasers from outside Scotland.”