If you believe what you read in the papers, house prices in Scotland are rising strongly. But are they?
I’ve been trying to find a simple, visual way of answering that question and I hope the graph here will help. You see, the correct answer is that it depends on where you live.
It’s not easy to cut through the multitude of press reports to get a clear idea of what is going on, especially when so many of them refer to the UK as a whole or lump Scotland together as one ‘region’.
The Nationwide reported recently that house price inflation across the UK reached 9.4% last month. And Acadametrics that prices in Scotland rose by 3.9% in the year to January.
Taken at face value, you would jump to the conclusion that prices are rising pretty much everywhere.
But take a look at the graph. It shows price changes since the start of 2011 (as recorded by the Registers of Scotland) for three key cities (Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen) plus a two other local authorities.
As you can see, prices in Aberdeen and Edinburgh have risen quite strongly. Prices in Glasgow are up a bit, but not much and prices in North Lanarkshire and East Ayrshire have either not changed or even fallen over the same period. The red line in the middle is the average for Scotland as a whole.
Of course, the graph has been hugely simplified by including just a few locations. You can find a spreadsheet with the full data set for every local authority from 2003 here.
Nevertheless, it is unequivocally true that whether the value of your home has gone up or not in the last year, and by how much, depends on where it is.
My guess is that prices are now rising in most locations. But in many cases, the current rise in prices will be merely reversing falls seen last year. So, just because the papers are full of news about a ‘property price bubble’, don’t assume that your home is worth more now that it was three years ago.