City's most expensive home is thirty-three times cost of cheapest

THEY are less than two miles apart, but when it comes to the cost of living, the two houses may as well be on different planets.

New figures suggest that you could snap up 33 homes on Edinburgh's cheapest street for the same cash it would take you to own just one average house on the Capital's priciest road.

The study, which produced some surprising results, has been compiled by an online company which claims it is the most accurate reflection of current house prices.

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Zoopla.com suggests bargain hunters should hurry along to West Pilton Park, where the average house price is estimated at just 36,890.

At the other end of the scale, happy homeowners in Wester Coates Avenue are sitting pretty in the Capital's most expensive street, where the average value of a house stands at 1,243,925.

The figures show that Edinburgh has a total of 199 streets where average home values are over 500,000.

Property experts today said that while the study was a useful tool, it did not tell the whole story.

Zoopla said it used historic house prices combined with extra information inputted by home owners, fed into a complicated algorithm to analyse "home prices, economic trends and property characteristics in given geographic areas".

A closer look at the West Pilton Park figure shows it is based on just two property sales in the last three years. One of these sales includes a property which supposedly sold for 36,365 on August 12 last year.

However, Bob Arbuthnott, partner at Arbuthnott & McClanachan Solicitors & Estate Agents in Davidson's Mains, less than a mile from West Pilton Park, said: "The cheapest property we've sold in that area was in West Pilton Avenue, which sold for 50,000 in November but that was under a 50 per cent ownership scheme.

"That is classic example of how bare figures can be misread and anomalies like this can throw things out, and in this case West Pilton Park may be being unfairly stigmatised.

"For that reason I'd always be sceptical about a website that bases its figures on complicated formula, and would suggest that this be used as a useful signpost rather than a definitive guide."

Edinburgh Solicitors Property Centre (ESPC) business analyst David Marshall, agreed: "There's certainly nothing wrong with the concept, but due to the overwhelming number of factors on which property prices are dependent, the results are perhaps more of a useful guide or discussion point rather than being an accurate reflection of property values.

"Without knowing the exact details underpinning their 'secret formula' it would be difficult to comment on their accuracy."

Zoopla spokesman Kristoff Clark said the website's figures should exclude part-ownership sales, but occasionally these "slipped through", so some might have been included in the figures.

He added: "The formula isn't really 'secret' but it is quite complicated to explain. Our value estimates are calculated using a proprietary algorithm that we have developed by analysing millions of data points relating to property sales and home characteristics throughout the UK.

"Our estimates are constantly refined, using the most recent data available and a variety of statistical methodologies, in order to provide the most current information on any home.

"We also rely on data input from our users about how many rooms their house has got or whether they've had any alterations to the property such as a conservatory, which will then go on to amend the estimate."

Mr Clark defended the accuracy of the site's figures: "We use a secure user identification system to ensure that only the registered owner of the property can amend the details, which prevents others artificially inflating or deflating our estimates based on incorrect entries.

"As our free value estimates are based on historical sale values plus information inputted by an ongoing community of users, we're confident that they provide an accurate representation of realistic market values."

Head of agency for the upmarket estate agent Savills, Jamie Macnab, said he would not have expected to see Wester Coates Avenue at the top of the property table.

"It does surprise me that it has come out top instead of some areas in The Grange, but then there are some fantastic, big houses there, and it's about the most central location where you can buy a big detached house."

Mr Macnab said he thought the explosion in property price websites was a boon for housebuyers, as long as they were read with a cautious eye.

"When I started in my job 20 years ago, the agents who sold the house next door were the only people who knew what the house next door had sold for. But nowadays you just look it up on the internet.

"There are more and more websites that show all this information and I think it's excellent that people have access to all these comparative sales prices.

"The only drawback is that it doesn't tell the market what's happening to us agents today, because the register of sales is two or three months behind the market – if you want to know what's going on absolutely now, you need an agent to advise you."

"DISREGARD THE STORIES, IT'S A GOOD AREA TO LIVE IN"

IT might be Edinburgh's cheapest street, according to the new report, but the residents of West Pilton Park approached by the Evening News couldn't be happier.

Alan Wrisberg, 67, bought his flat seven years ago. He said: "I know the area and wanted to stay in the area. I've lived in West Pilton since 1946.

"House prices are pretty good and the housing stock is fair, but it does have a reputation. People think it is a down and out place.

"The council housing can be a bit notorious, but this end is very quiet."

"People coming into the area are dubious but people should disregard the stories – that's old history. It is a good area to live in.

Andrew Noble, 49, like many of his neighbours, rents privately.

He moved to his studio flat in 2005 and described the area as "quiet" and said it was a nice neighbourhood to live in.

He said: "It is usually quiet but you get the odd weekend with teenagers going out drinking. Apart from the odd weekend with young tearaways hanging about you can't hear anything."

• www.zoopla.co.uk