Research article

Million pound market: Strongest market since 2008

Edinburgh’s dominance grows, but some regional locations are making a comeback

Scotland’s million pound market has enjoyed its strongest performance since 2008, with 211 transactions recorded during 2018. There were 18 above £2 million, the highest since 2008. With 128 transactions, including 15 above £2 million, Edinburgh continues to dominate. Whereas in 2016 and 2017 there was activity above £3 million, there were no transactions at this level in 2018.

However, 2019 data already shows a transaction at £3.25 million in St Andrews and, anecdotally, we understand a number of deals have been done above £4 million that have yet to be recorded. Interestingly, of the 211 transactions, only 26 can be classified as ‘country’ houses: with an average of 64 acres per country house, privacy is one of the main drivers of demand, especially for buyers from outside Scotland.

Figure 4

Million pound residential transactions Scotland’s top end records its highest total since 2008
Source: Savills Research


The central hotspots of New Town and the West End recorded the highest number of million pound transactions in Edinburgh last year. However, the market remained steady compared to 2017 due to a lack of supply.

The strongest growth took place across inner suburbs, including The Grange, where transactions increased from 12 in 2017 to 22 in 2018. In Murrayfield, transactions increased from 10 to 15 over the same period. Transactions in the EH4 postcode, including Stockbridge, increased from 19 in 2017 to 23 in 2018. The outer suburbs of Barnton and Cramond saw eight transactions last year, the highest number since 2007.

Greater Glasgow

The million pound market across Greater Glasgow last year recovered to the level prior to the introduction of LBTT, with 31 transactions taking place in 2018. The majority took place in Glasgow’s West End, Bearsden, Giffnock and Bothwell. Within Glasgow’s West End, the Kelvinside neighbourhood saw six transactions in 2018, the highest number since 2006.

Aberdeen area

Local market recovery in the Aberdeen area is also being felt at the top end, with eight transactions during 2018. New build transactions made up half of the number in the city. Aberdeenshire saw two transactions, the first such activity since 2016. Across the wider North East, there were two in Angus, near Brechin, with overseas buyers purchasing both.

Regional locations

Scotland’s heartland recorded its highest total since 2008 with 26 taking place in 2018. This included 14 in Fife and nine in Stirlingshire, both of which are record numbers. Once again, St Andrews dominated the Fife market, including nine new build transactions at The Scores and Hamilton Grand.

Stirlingshire witnessed one of only three transactions above £2 million outside Edinburgh last year. There were four transactions in the Scottish Borders, taking place in Melrose and Duns, one of which was above £2 million. Dumfries & Galloway saw its first million pound transactions since 2015, with three taking place last year.

The magic of St Andrews

Hamilton Grand

Over the past 10 years, St Andrews has established itself as the most expensive location for homes in Scotland. At £370,000, the average transaction price last year was 39% higher than Edinburgh and more than double the level of Scotland.

While prices per square foot in Edinburgh are beginning to reach £800, in St Andrews there have been 18 transactions in The Links, The Scores and Golf Place in recent years that exceeded this level, including 12 at £1,000 per square foot and above. The prestigious Hamilton Grand development has led the way with properties selling at up to £2,500 per square foot.

St Andrews attracts buyers from all over the world who are gripped by the history and magic of the place. Golf is one of the main purchasing reasons, with the town being recognised as the ‘Home of Golf’ and the Old Course being arguably the most famous in the world.

However, not all the buyers are golfers. Others are drawn to the town for its history, architecture and stunning coastline as well the university, which is the oldest in Scotland and third oldest in the UK.

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