JK ROWLING may have put away Harry Potter’s wand but it hasn’t stopped the multi-millionaire from weaving a little magic in Edinburgh’s stagnant property sector.
The 19th-century Merchiston mansion where she wrote at least four of the seven books about the boy wizard has sold just three weeks after being put on the market.
The detached eight-bedroom home she shared with husband Dr Neil Murray and her three children until 2009 is understood to have gone for well above the asking price of offers over £2.25 million.
Only six other properties have sold in Edinburgh for £2m or more this year – an indication that Rowling’s name can still cast a spell despite some of the toughest property market conditions in Scotland’s history.
Selling agent James Whitson, of Rettie and Co, said the successful buyer had been a Scottish-based firm.
The deal was finalised in mid-October after the agency had recorded 16,000 unique visits to the listing on their website. Most of these were from the US and Asia. Whitson said there had been a number of early viewings before a final buyer emerged.
He said: “I think 75 to 80 per cent of those, we knew who the people were anyway, and amongst all of that you had obviously the phenomenal interest from around the world just because she was JK Rowling.
“To be honest, it was a refreshing change to the normal house. There was a bit of magic involved, which was quite fun to deal with.
“But fundamentally, in my experience, the people who want to really buy a home in Edinburgh, they’re buying it for the reasons that everyone else buys a home, which is to educate their kids on the Southside and the quality of life that you lead.
“It’s a good result in a very challenging market.”
Rowling had originally purchased the top half of the house for £425,000 in 1999 –two years after the release of Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone.
She later bought out her downstairs neighbour and converted the property back into a single, luxury stone-built home.
The unidentified buyer will remain in good company despite Rowling’s absence. Neighbours include her fellow authors Ian Rankin and Alexander McCall Smith, and the former chancellor Alistair Darling.
The mansion was sold bereft of any Harry Potter memorabilia, but Whitson said it had still been unique.