Estates update - December 2012

    Scottish estates continue to command international interest, and prices remain buoyant despite the uncertain economic climate.

    Although fewer rural estates have sold this year at a lower combined value, demand has been strong, with competitive closing dates receiving multiple bids. By the end of November, 14 estates in Scotland had sold, with a combined value of £37m. That compares to 22 in 2011, with a combined value of £86m.

    Anna Henderson, Savills, attributes the reduced number of transactions principally to sellers’ anxiety about the global economy, but admits that the uncertainty surrounding Scottish Independence could also be a contributing factor. However, international purchasers understand that if they want to acquire the ‘Highland experience’ then it is only Scotland that can offer it.

    “Comparing prices from year to year is complex, as each property is entirely unique,” she says. “However an analysis of the component parts, including houses, farmland, woodland, and sporting rights, reveals little has changed since the 2007 peak, suggesting sellers’ fears about prices in an uncertain climate may be unfounded.”

    At the height of the market in 2008, half of Scottish estate deals were done privately, but of the 14 estates sold so far in 2012, all but two have been on the open market. “Those sellers who went to the open market this year were well rewarded, as there have been some spectacularly strong deals done at closing dates, many to buyers who were not in the market in 2011,” says Anna. “Recent buyers have included two Europeans, a Chinese businessman and a returning ex-pat.”

    She anticipates a similar market in 2013. “The best quality estates are likely to generate strong demand, irrespective of economic conditions, as owning a fine Scottish sporting estate is often a lifetime aspiration rather than a business decision.”


    Key contacts

    Anna Henderson

    Anna Henderson


    Savills Edinburgh

    +44 (0) 131 247 3703

    +44 (0) 131 247 3703