£5 million price tag makes it king of the castle

A CASTLE built by Robert Adam is the rightful heir to the title of Scotland's Most Expensive Home, with a princely price tag of £5 million.

Seton Castle, which had been extensively remodelled by its former owners, took almost two years to sell, but when it did, that sale set a record price, which is still unbeaten.

However, the price of family homes in Edinburgh is not far behind, with the second-placed property in our top ten edging towards the 5 million mark.

The last time The Scotsman published a list of the country's most expensive homes, a price of 2.2 million was enough to make the top ten – today, only homes of 3.5 million or above make it on to the list.

Faisal Choudhry, of Savills, an expert in Scottish prime properties, said the amount of movement in that market in the past year had been "astonishing", adding: "Some of the properties which made it on to the top ten last year barely scraped into the top 50 this year."

With more than 50 properties in Scotland now having been sold for more than 2 million, the criteria for what constitutes prime property is gradually changing, from homes above 1 million to those costing more than 2 million.

Mr Choudhry said: "The number of 1 million properties sold in 2007 has been phenomenal. In 2006, there were around 170 sales of more than a million. In the first 11 months of 2007, there were more than 250."

And, while at one time almost all the most expensive homes in Scotland were found in a few streets in Edinburgh, prices in other parts of the country are soaring too.

As well as Seton Castle in East Lothian, our top ten contains a fairytale castle in Fife and two homes in the new "Millionaire's Row" in Perthshire.

And while you might think you could get a home you really wanted to live in for more than 3 million, the list includes two homes which are believed to be earmarked for demolition.

10

2 OSWALD ROAD EDINBURGH

Some buyers are looking for a house they can make their mark on, others are looking for a home that has already been renovated to the highest standard. This traditional Victorian stone villa in the perennially popular Grange area is in the latter category. From the outside, it has a traditional appearance, but the inside has been made over with a light, contemporary feel and state-of-the-art fixtures and fittings. It has a cinema room and substantial Victorian conservatory, and a guest flat was recently added above the triple garage.

SOLD FOR 3,500,000 (April 07)

9

37 DRUMSHEUGH GARDENS, EDINBURGH

A former architect's office over seven floors, this property was converted by its former owners into a family home. The house is now one of the biggest in the West End of Edinburgh and includes a fully-equipped gym with stunning panoramic views over the city. The garden looks out on to Dean Village and the Water of Leith, while the front of the house has views of the castle.

Converting former offices into top end residential homes is one of the big trends at the top end of the market.

Blair Stewart, who is head of residential sales for Strutt and Parker, said: "The beauty of the West End is the easy access to the financial district and to the airport."

SOLD FOR 3,500,000 (Jan 07)

8

22 HERMITAGE DRIVE, EDINBURGH

Buyers are sometimes willing to pay a premium for homes that have not been modernised and renovated to someone else's taste – which is one of the reasons this Edwardian property raised more than a million over the asking price.

Properties in Hermitage Drive come on the market rarely and before it went up for sale, Allanton, built in 1904, had been in the same family for 40 years. A fine redstone property, it still retained a lot of the original features but was ripe to be renovated. It also features a ground-floor annexe.

SOLD FOR 3,729,500, Oct 2007

7

GREEN GABLES, CALEDONIAN CRESCENT, GLENEAGLES

The fashion here is for huge American-style modern mansions, but there are a few older homes from the 1920s when the street was originally built.

Green Gables, a large traditional family home, which dates from that period, is on one of the biggest plots on this private road, which enjoys a peaceful wooded setting.

Recently sold, it is likely to be extensively remodelled or perhaps even demolished if the buyers want a home to compete with the vast marble mansions of their nearest neighbours.

SOLD FOR 3,750,000 (Sept 07)

6

STRATHEARN LODGE, CALEDONIAN CRES, GLENEAGLES

Caledonian Crescent, overlooking the famous golf course, is the new must-have address for Scotland's multimillionaires.

Built in 2004, Strathearn Lodge is, by our reckoning, the most expensive modern home in Scotland. With marble floors and a bright airy feel, it has everything the modern tycoon needs, with four huge bedroom suites, a games room, cinema and built-in three-car garage. Homes in this private crescent benefit from high security, with houses hidden behind huge hedges and electronic gates.

SOLD FOR 3,750,000 (Dec 07)

4

WOODCROFT, BARNTON AVENUE, EDINBURGH

There were people who said David Murray had paid over the odds for Woodcroft when he bought it at the end of 2006. But he proved them wrong by selling ten months later at a big profit. The official sale of Barnton Avenue came on the same day as The Scotsman concluded its series of Scotland's most expensive homes in 2006 – so it was too late to make our list. But at the time, it broke all records as Scotland's first 4 million home.

The new buyer was rumoured to be an Edinburgh businessman.

SOLD FOR 4,500,000 (Oct 06)

5

FORDELL CASTLE, NEAR DUNFERMLINE, FIFE

A Fife property record was set at the end of last year with the sale of 16th- century Fordell Castle, which has been renovated to become a luxurious family home –

owning it also traditionally confers the title of Baron and Baroness of Fordell.

Set in 210 acres of woodland and formal gardens, it has an imposing great hall and oak-panelled bedrooms. Set in the gardens is St Theriot's private chapel, an aviary and an icehouse. Although both the castle and the chapel are A listed the building has been remodelled and modernised.

SOLD FOR 3,850,000 (Nov 07)

3

1 EASTER BELMONT ROAD, EDINBURGH

Secluded, private and with views across to the Pentland Hills, Easter Belmont Road is one of Edinburgh's most sought after addresses. In the words of Simon Rettie, of Rettie and Co: "This is the most exclusive residential street in Edinburgh."

This property, which came on to the market a few months ago, is a large arts and crafts period family home, set in extensive grounds.

The property needed renovation but attracted so much interest from buyers that it was able to attract a record price.

SOLD FOR 4,875,000 (Sept 07)

2

WOODCROFT, 39 BARNTON AVE, EDINBURGH

The arts and crafts mansion on Edinburgh's "Millionaire's Row" was the first property in Scotland to break the 4 million barrier, when it was bought by Rangers chairman Sir David Murray at the end of 2006. But he never lived in the six-bedroom house, and it was sold ten months later for a 450,000 profit. Barnton Avenue is a secluded, tree-lined street with views over the Royal Burgess golf course. Popular with bankers and industrialists because of its proximity to the airport, it includes many huge family homes.

SOLD FOR 4,950,000 (Aug 07)

1

SETON CASTLE, LONGNIDDRY

BUILT by classical architect Robert Adam using the stones of the ruined Seton Palace, this grand Georgian, 14-bedroom house, formerly owned by the Wemyss family, was extensively refurbished by an Edinburgh entrepreneur, who put it on the market for 15 million, hoping to attract an overseas buyer. After two years, the price was reduced to 7 million and more recently to 5 million, when it was snapped up by Stephen Leach and Heather Luscombe, founders of internet marketing company Bigmouthmedia.

The four-storey house has a gallery, library, billiards room, nursery and staff quarters, which include a laundry room and butler's pantry. It is set in 13 acres of wooded parkland, overlooking the Firth of Forth and includes stabling for six horses, a coachman's cottage and the ruins of a medieval mill.

SOLD FOR 5,000,000 (February 2007)

Read the previous entries in our 'Scotland's 50 most expensive homes' series:

20-11, 30-21, 40-31, 50-49