Prime Property in Scotland: The Streets which make the Rich list

Property in Scotland

When you think of the highest earning households in the UK, you immediately think of London. And of course, the capital city is top of the list just as you’d expect, closely followed by the Southeast and East of England. But you may be surprised to hear that Scotland is fourth on the list, with 86,000 households earning over £100,000. Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen in particular, all tend to have higher than average salaries due to their economic activity and excellent job prospects. Plus offer amazing quality of life, with access to some of the best coastlines and countryside landscapes in the UK.

Edinburgh is famously home to a range of companies within the financial services sector, including banking, insurance, and investment management, an industry which typically pays a better than average wage and often significant annual bonuses. It also has several internationally respected universities and research institutions, attracting highly skilled academics and professionals, including the University of Edinburgh - one of the top 50 universities in the world. The much larger city of Glasgow has a vibrant and diverse economy, with strengths in finance, education, healthcare, and creative industries. Its many universities also contribute to a huge pool of graduates and skilled workers. The university of Glasgow with its 26,000 students is one of the biggest, with students enrolled from over 120 different countries. Historically, Aberdeen’s wealth came from fishing, textiles and papermaking, significantly enhanced by their prosperous the oil and gas industry. In recent years, high-paying jobs in energy exploration, production, and related services have contributed to its affluent population.

So, it stands to rights that these areas boast extensive ranges of high-end prime property. Prime property is defined as the most desirable and most expensive property in a given location, usually the top 5% of each market by value. In the UK, this is generally considered as properties worth over £1million.


The Scottish property landscape


Scotland has a range of varied and unique property, for several reasons. There are lots of older properties here, including many large country houses built during the late 18th and 19th centuries, with houses even dating back to the Mesolithic era! Scotland’s varied landscapes, from rugged coastlines to hills and mountains, inspire different architectural styles including coastal cottages, highland lodges, and city townhouses. Largely because of the hard weather, traditional Scottish houses were built using local materials like stone, timber, and slate, with thick walls, steep roofs and small windows, which has influenced the design and appearance of homes across the country. Scotland has produced several renowned architects which contribute to the style of homes here, including Sir Robert Lorimer who combined traditional Scottish architecture with classical and Arts and Crafts styles, and Charles Rennie Mackintosh, a key figure in the Art Nouveau movement. His work includes the iconic Glasgow School of Art and the Willow Tearooms.

Of course many continue to dream of owning their own Scottish castle, inspired by recent TV hit The Traitors, which starred the beautiful Ardross Castle in both the UK and US versions. Of course purchasing such a unqiue slide of Caledonian real estate has a number of additional considerations, as covered in our recent article ‘Don’t get banished by the process – what to consider when buying a castle north of the border’.


The richest streets to buy


Edinburgh is the most expensive place to live in Scotland, and also perhaps surprisingly the most expensive place to rent in the UK. Ann Street is the most expensive street, with house prices amongst the highest in the region, closely followed by Wester Coates Avenue in Murrayfield. A terraced town house in Regent Terrace, right near to Holyrood House, the official residence of the British Monarch in Scotland, will set you back at least £1.5million. Other prestigious areas include Danube Street, Heriot Row and St Catherine’s Place.

Glasgow’s ten most expensive streets all have an average price tag of over £1 million too, including Elphinstone Road, Methven Road, Countess Gate, Craigmillar Avenue and Frederick Boulevard. Some streets in Aberdeen have made it into Scotland’s most expensive list too, such as Rubislaw Den and Dalmnunzie Road, which has an average house price of £1.5 million.

And of course, if you’re looking for a really special and unique property, Scotland is renowned for its beautiful castles. Whilst many come with a very hefty price tag, Country Life’s 2023 article featured several impressive castle properties available for less than £4 million. Arguably these are the most prized of trophy residences, recently glamourized by both the UK and US versions of the TV hit Traitors.


How does the buying process differ?


Buying a property in Scotland is a little different to the rest of the UK. One of the main differences is that there’s no gazumping allowed. Most homes are sold through a blind bidding system, based on an ‘offers over’ starting price, which means there’s no visibility of who else is bidding and for how much. So, it’s prudent to go in with your best offer straight off the bat, or risk losing out.

The good news is that sellers in Scotland must provide a home buyers report up front, so you’ll have a good idea of the condition of the house before you make an offer.

Another key difference is that solicitors play a much more prominent role in the property buying process in Scotland. Offers are formally made by your solicitor and once the seller agrees to sell you their home, they'll accept the offer through their solicitor dependent on certain conditions. Once these conditions are finessed by your legal teams (known as missives) and you agree on the terms, you have a binding contract. If you pull out of the deal at any time after this, you’ll be liable to pay the seller thousands of pounds in damages, unlike in England where the sale only becomes legally binding once contracts are exchanged.


Financing a prime property in Scotland


If you’re buying in the prime market, chances are you’ll need a specialist mortgage. Many high street lenders have a maximum loan value of £1m, and whilst some will offer more than this, loans from high street banks are generally not as flexible.

A specialist broker can help you find a million plus mortgage, exclusively available to high-net-worth individuals who meet certain income and asset requirements. A good broker will also have access to private lenders who are more flexible in their underwriting criteria and can help tailor the best package to your financial circumstances.

As well as the obvious benefit of higher borrowing amounts, these types of mortgage provide other advantages such as access to preferential interest rates, a dedicated Account Manager, cashback, and a range of other perks.

An intimate knowledge of the Scottish market is also a must, which is why Enness Global have recently strengthened their Scottish operations with the appointment of Tamara Crowson, as Head of Scotland. To find out more about financing for your million plus Scottish property, please contact Tamara Crowson.


The views and opinions expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not constitute advice or a recommendation. They do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Enness and are not intended to indicate any market or industry viewpoints, or those of other industry professionals