Central Belt living is back with a bang as prices soar

31st May 2024
Central Belt living is back with a bang as prices soar - D. J. Alexander

Prices in the Scottish housing market continue to seem unstoppable. The latest figures from the official monthly House Price Index shows that average house prices in Scotland rose by £9,741 over the last 12 months compared to a rise of £2,959 in England and Wales.

Within the data, you can see that Central Belt living is back with a bang as Edinburgh average prices rose by £23,691; Midlothian was up £14,185, while Glasgow increased by £13,041.


But what is really striking is that the demand for detached homes is completely unprecedented. The rise in average prices in Edinburgh was up £75,490 in one year which is just under £1500 per week. Glasgow detached homes have risen by £55,018, which is just over £1,000 per week; Midlothian was up by £47,301, while East Dunbartonshire increased by £30,828; and Scotland as a whole increased by just over £500 per week to reach £26,465 over the year.

These figures highlight just how much demand there is for detached homes with outside space in Scotland’s largest cities and their surrounding areas. The boom in out-of-town living appears to have ended, and buyers are flocking to the cities and are willing to pay substantial prices for the privilege.


It should be noted that these figures cover a period when mortgage rates are at their highest in a decade, yet still, the money is there to cover these huge prices.

The trend is growing rather than slowing. Over the latest month (between February and March 2024, which is the period for which there is data), the average price increase in detached homes in Edinburgh rose by £23,380. In Glasgow, it was just under £10,000, while in Scotland as a whole, it is just under £6,500.


People want to live and work near the vibrancy and dynamism of cities like Edinburgh and Glasgow and their surrounding areas, and, despite attempts to tax people more highly than the rest of the UK they don’t seem to be put off by having to pay more for the privilege. You can only imagine what the market might be like if there was a level playing field with the rest of the UK for personal and property taxes.

There is clearly strong demand and a willingness to pay substantial prices to live and work in Scotland. This is a positive outcome but needs to be treated with caution. Marketplaces tend to be volatile if price rises are too great and occur over a short period of time, and I would be wary of assuming that such growth is sustainable in the medium to long term.


So, while these figures show that people are keen to live in the Central Belt, this will only continue as long as the economy is strong, jobs are plentiful and well-paid, and the city lifestyle remains attractive.

Edinburgh and Glasgow remain fantastically attractive places to live, but whether people will be willing or able to pay these kinds of prices for a sustained period is open to question. Nevertheless, this is still an extraordinary picture of dynamism in our Scottish housing market, given the underlying gloominess of the sector across the rest of the UK.