Wor­ries over young be­ing priced out of ru­ral homes

Sur­vey shows area is among most pricey in Scot­land

The Courier & Advertiser (Fife Edition) - - NEWS - Jamie buchan jabuchan@the­courier.co.uk

Ru­ral properties in Perth and Kin­ross are among the most ex­pen­sive in Scot­land, a new study has re­vealed.

And cam­paign­ers fear young fam­i­lies are be­ing priced out of coun­try­side lo­ca­tions across the re­gion, where only 36% of properties are snapped up by first-time buy­ers.

The Bank of Scot­land sur­vey shows the av­er­age cost of a home in ru­ral Perthshire is £195,950, com­pared to £166,696 in ur­ban ar­eas of Scot­land.

The av­er­age wage in Perth and Kin­ross is £33,307, giv­ing a price-to-earn­ing ra­tio of 5.9.

The area is sec­ond only to East Loth­ian on the league of most ex­pen­sive ru­ral ar­eas. East Ayr­shire – where av­er­age prices are just un­der £128,900 – is the most af­ford­able (with a 4.1 price-to-earn­ing ra­tio).

Lo­cal MSP Murdo Fraser said: “Perth and Kin­ross is one of the most pic­turesque places to live in Scot­land and it doesn’t sur­prise me that it is the coun­try’s sec­ond most ex­pen­sive,” he said.

“How­ever, that be­ing said, with much of ru­ral Perth and Kin­ross still suf­fer­ing from slow or non-ex­is­tent broad­band con­nec­tions and in­fre­quent trans­port links, there is clearly an im­bal­ance here.

“Fur­ther­more, if we are to at­tract younger fam­i­lies and res­i­dents to ru­ral ar­eas, then prop­erty will need to be more af­ford­able.”

He added: “Ul­ti­mately, Perth and Kin­ross is a de­sir­able place to live and this should be seen as a badge of hon­our for the area but it must not come at the cost of en­cour­ag­ing younger peo­ple to move here.”

In re­cent months, there has been a surge in view­ings and sales at ru­ral lo­ca­tions such as Craigie and Scone. Tra­di­tional, pic­ture-post­card vil­lages con­tinue to be a big draw for house­hunters.

Jim Per­rett, who chairs the com­mu­nity coun­cil at Dun­ning – a 1,000-pop­u­la­tion vil­lage in west Perthshire – said: “The mar­ket here changes all the time.

“You some­times see sev­eral properties on of­fer, which get sold fairly quickly all at once. But then there is one house here which has been on the mar­ket for about two-and-a-half years.

“Dun­ning is one of those places where once peo­ple move here, they stay for a long time. There aren’t many other places left where the pub is still a cen­tre of vil­lage life.

“We’ve lost one of our three pubs re­cently but the two that are left are al­ways well used.”

Mr Per­rett added: “I think Dun­ning is just the right size. There have been about 60 new homes here in the last 30 years but there are plans in the pipe­line for about 80 more and I worry that could change the char­ac­ter of the area al­to­gether.”

Gra­ham Blair, mort­gages di­rec­tor at Bank of Scot­land, said: “The coun­try­side con­tin­ues to at­tract home­own­ers.

“How­ever, this comes at a premium with ru­ral prop­erty prices on av­er­age 11% higher than in ur­ban ar­eas.”

Pic­tures: Steve Mac­Dougall.

The vil­lage square near St Serfs Church, Dun­ning. There are wor­ries ar­eas like the Perthshire vil­lage are be­com­ing unaf­ford­able for younger buy­ers.

Left: Jim Per­rett, Dun­ning Com­mu­nity Coun­cil chair­man and right: a view of the vil­lage.

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