A recent survey has shown Aberdeen sitting bottom in home resale values across the UK as Orkney and the Western Isles enjoy a surge in house prices.
The UK House Price Index (HPI) revealed that as of March this year, the average house price in the UK is £256,405, with property prices rising by 1.8 per cent compared to the previous month, and by 10.2 per cent compared to the previous year.
Overall, the figures suggest that UK house sales have already increased by 160 per cent since January and show no sign of slowing down any time soon.
However, a recent survey based on the statistics showed that while the rest of the UK and Scotland returned good values, Aberdeen came bottom of the UK table (377th) with Aberdeenshire not far behind sitting in 375th place.
Top of the Scots table is Na h-Eileanan Siar (the Western Isles), which fared better, seeing house prices increase by an average of 38 per cent over the last five years – a whopping 14.4 per cent above the UK’s average increase.
Other desirable postcodes include the City of Glasgow where prices increased by an average of 35.2 per cent – a respectable 11.6 per cent above the UK’s average increase – and Orkney in third place which has the 53rd largest increase in the UK.
Taking several of the UK’s high spots bodes well for the Scottish housing market but it seems Aberdeen and the shire has a lot of catching up to do. Over the past five years, Aberdeen’s house prices have dropped 20.0 per cent, 43.5 per cent lower than the UK’s average.
However, despite the somewhat gloomy picture, Aberdeen actually enjoyed an increase in house prices towards the end of 2020, seeing the average price of a standard semi-detached rise by 3.3 per cent between September and the end of December – in some cases almost as high as 5 per cent with a particularly strong showing from Inverurie (6.4 per cent) and Stonehaven (5.6 per cent).
And despite the impact of the pandemic halting almost all house purchases and moves for the best part of a year, the most recent report on the first quarter of 2021 is more heartening still, with continued signs of improvement.
Commenting, ASPC chairman John MacRae said the report showed evidence of “increasing confidence” pointing out that March this year has seen the “highest ever” traffic on aspc.co.uk“.
And with almost 3,500 properties in the city itself – and stunning countryside for those who choose rural Aberdeenshire – Aberdeen continues to attract buyers keen to snap up traditional properties and the famed granite buildings.
Alan Cumming, national estate agency director at Aberdein Considine, also paints a more positive picture.
“The property market in the north-east was one of the first areas to bounce back from the financial crisis with a buoyant oil and gas sector providing a significant boost,” he said.
“Whilst the market slowed somewhat during the last few years we’ve recently experienced a mini boom in the region with over £1 billion in sales in the six months from September to February.
“Sales in Aberdeen jumped by 10 per cent and 44 per cent in the shire with people from across the UK attracted by the scenery, great schools and thriving food and drinks industry.”
For those lucky enough to be able to work remotely, who can blame buyers for wanting to do this from a cosy home office in the Highlands?
So should buyers proceed with caution or take a chance on the northern housing market? Kevin Maley, of Strutt and Parker, Inverness, points out the limits of the data – and the benefits of moving north.
“While there are some stand-out statistics, it is important to put these into perspective. Orkney for example has seen a 25 per cent increase in price in the year to March. This is down to a smaller number of transactions.
“The same applies to Aberdeen City, where the average price decreased by 0.6 per cent to £140,357. The north-east has traditionally been a market within itself with activity aligned with the oil jobs market.”
He added: “For those lucky enough to be able to work remotely, who can blame buyers for wanting to do this from a cosy home office in the Highlands with access to some of the most idyllic scenery in the UK and the great outdoors on your doorstep?”