House prices in Scotland have had an unsettled few years, with the effects of the recession, the independence referendum and changes to property taxes damping increases.
Urban prices are now on the rise, but as is normally the case, rural prices in most of Scotland are lagging behind somewhat which makes this year a great time if you are planning a move to the country.
Many of us choose to migrate to the countryside to benefit from value for money and a slower, more relaxed lifestyle, with the added benefit of having fresh air and acres of countryside around to explore.
Buying in the country means you are more likely to be able to afford a larger property with a garden. John Bound, of CKD Galbraith’s Inverness office says that his typical rural buyer is looking for space and privacy and currently the lower end of the market is more active, with buyers looking for a permanent move to the country or those in search of a second home.
“There has been a notable improvement in the activity in the rural market since the election. Sales are up probably 100 per cent on the same quarter last year.”
He says that more interest means viewings are up and sales are brisk: “We are returning to the good old days of closing dates, with properties selling over the asking price after receiving three or four offers, so it is good news for those looking to sell too.”
However, the story is different at the top end of the market. Bound says: “The activity is good in the £250,000 to £600,000 range, but the introduction of the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax in April has had an effect higher up the market. That side is much more challenging once you get up to properties prices anywhere near the million mark.”
This doesn’t apply so much, he says, to properties with land. “We’ve had some very good sales of sporting estates recently, much better in recent years.”
He says this relatively challenging atmosphere above £600,000 can offer some great opportunities with urban property owners being able to sell in a competitive market and have more bargaining power for a larger rural property. “If you have a good house in Edinburgh, or the south of England for instance, you will be able to exchange it for a fantastic house in rural Scotland, particularly over the £500,000 mark.”
He points to Tigh An Allt, near Tomatin in Inverness, which is a beautiful six bedroom manse, with its own cottage, sixteen acres and its own salmon beat. “At £850,000 it is such good value and the type of property which would really suit a family wanting to move from a smaller house in the city. It has everything you could need in a rural property, and you could let the cottage to bring in an income. This is the kind of opportunities which rural properties can offer.”
For those looking to exchange a city flat for a country home, The Muir Of Auchnabreac is a picturesque extended 200 year old farm cottage overlooking Loch Fyne, a mile from the pretty town of Inveraray on the West Coast, just over an hour from Glasgow, which offers the possibility of commuting. The two bedroom renovated and extended cottage has five acres of gardens and is priced at £280,000.