HOUSE price rises in Scotland’s seaside towns have revealed a dramatic divide between the east and west coasts.
Nine of the ten most expensive seaside towns are located along the east coast, which experts say is a result of the strength of the local economy in these eastern areas.
North Berwick in East Lothian tops the table as the country’s priciest coastal town.
It has an average house price of £327,518 in 2012, rising from £309,676 in 2011, the study revealed.
Meanwhile, in western Scotland, a home in Girvan, South Ayrshire, will set investors back an average of just £75,325
North Ayrshire towns Irvine, Saltcoats and Ardrossan were among the least expensive locations for a home by the sea.
Wick and Thurso in the Highlands, Stranraer in Dumfries and Galloway, Port Bannatyne on the Isle of Bute, Millport in Cumbrae and Greenock in Inverclyde completed the list of coastal places where average house prices remain in five figures.
The Bank of Scotland’s report analysed average seaside house prices last year and how they compared with levels in 2004.
In total, the average house price in Scotland’s seaside towns rose by 45 per cent between 2004 and 2012 – exceeding the 36 per cent increase for the whole of the country.
This was due in part to “substantial” rises in the top- performing coastal towns, the survey found.
Nitesh Patel, housing economist at the Bank of Scotland, said the public appetite for living by the sea – especially in the east coast of Scotland – is unlikely to wane any time soon.
He said: “Seaside towns are highly popular places to live in Scotland as they offer a unique lifestyle with a typically high quality of life and a healthy environment.
He added: “Towns in Aberdeenshire have performed particularly strongly, largely reflecting the strength of the local economy over this period.”
Of the individual towns analysed, Fraserburgh experienced the biggest house price rise, with a 139 per cent increase from an average price of £53,641 in 2004 to £128,418 in 2012.
Peterhead and Macduff saw the second biggest gains at 116 per cent and 115 per cent respectively, followed by Cove Bay at 108 per cent and Inverbervie, which recorded a doubling in average house price over the same timescale.
This means the Aberdeenshire coast boasted five towns where buyers have witnessed house prices at least doubling since 2004.
Montrose in Angus, Campbeltown in Argyll, Prestonpans in East Lothian, Burntisland in Fife and Stonehaven in Aberdeenshire completed the top-ten list of seaside towns with the biggest house price increases since 2004. All recorded rises of 87 per cent or more.
The most expensive seaside areas, after North Berwick, were St Andrews at £261,446, followed by Stonehaven at £211,413 and Inverbervie at £202,144.