The overseas owners of Scotland's land and property mapped

New research shows the top 20 countries of origin of those who hold land and property in Scotland and even the neighbourhoods where you are most likely to find an owner from overseas.

The top 20 countries of origin of overseas owners of land and property have been revealed.

The new data from Registers of Scotland follows analysis of just over 1.9m records in the Land Register of Scotland. It shows that 93.3 per cent of land and property titles are held by owners in Scotland – around 1.18m – with 5.1 per cent of owners based in other parts of the UK, chiefly London, Wales and the North West of England.

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Meanwhile, overseas owners hold 27,724 land and property titles in Scotland – around 1.4 per cent of the total – the research has found.

The Edinburgh skyline. Picture: Getty ImagesThe Edinburgh skyline. Picture: Getty Images
The Edinburgh skyline. Picture: Getty Images
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The United States has the greatest number of overseas owners with 3,392 titles in Scotland registered to an American address.

Figures also show overseas owners are most likely to hold property in the New Town area of Edinburgh or St Andrews and its surrounds. Of the 10 most popular Scottish postcodes among overseas owners, nine are in the capital.

Hong Kong has the second greatest number of overseas property owners in Scotland at 2,456 titles with Australia recorded as the third greatest, with 1,874 titles in Scotland listed to an address there.

Owners also originate from United Arab Emirates (1,780 titles), Ireland (1,274), Jersey (1,160), France (1,031), Singapore (1,016), Canada (906) and Germany (841).

Spain, Isle of Man, Switzerland, Netherlands, Guernsey, Malaysia, Japan, South Africa, New Zealand and China complete the list of top 20 countries of overseas owners of property in Scotland.

Registers of Scotland said the statistics represented a “snapshot” of the Land Register at 31 December 2023 and that comparisons to earlier years were not advised due to changes in data recording, among other factors.

The figures come amid the debate on land ownership in Scotland with the Land Reform Bill recently published to tackle concentrated patterns of ownership in Scotland. Several overseas owners hold significant estates in the Highlands including Anders Holch Povlsen, the Danish fashion tycoon and Scotland’s largest landowner; Lego heir Kirk Kristiansen and Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai. The new data shows that 1,101 titles held by overseas owners were linked to land (4 per cent) with the vast majority linked to residential properties (78.8 per cent). Forestry accounted for 81 titles and agriculture a further 133.

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A report said: “The statistics will include titles where an owner has remained located outwith Scotland after the title has been purchased and titles where an owner has subsequently located to Scotland after completion of the transaction.

"It is not possible to determine whether the reasons for owning/leasing property or land in Scotland is due to the intention to immigrate, or for other purposes such as second/holiday homes, accommodation for family members studying/working in Scotland, or as investments.”

Around one in three titles (32 per cent) held by overseas owners were in Edinburgh and Glasgow. Meanwhile, Renfrewshire accounted for 8.5 per cent of titles held overseas (2,367 titles). Of these, 72 per cent (or 1,712 titles) related to a tenancy interest. A contributory factor to this is the number of titles of parking spaces and storage facilities near to Glasgow Airport.



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