Property prices in rural Scotland double

Countryside property prices rose by an average of £79,819 – equivalent to £665 per month – from £79,104 in 2001 to £158,923 in 2011.

Whilst average property prices in rural areas have increased by 101% over the past 10 years, in comparison urban areas saw an average increase of £64,263 (91%) - or £535 per month – from £70,463 to £134,726.

House price growth in rural Scotland outpaced the increase seen in rural Britain as a whole, with average prices rising by 54% to £196,316.

Five rural areas have seen average property prices more than double over the last decade. The largest increases were in Moray (162%) followed by Aberdeenshire (150%), the Highlands (143%) and Dumfries and Galloway (110%).

Aberdeenshire is the most expensive rural local authority district in Scotland with an average house price of £198,970; 25% - or £40,000 - above the Scottish rural average (£158,923). East Lothian is the next most expensive with an average property price of £172,638. East Ayrshire (£103,981) is the least expensive rural area in Scotland.

The strength in rural property prices over the past decade has resulted in housing becoming less affordable for buyers on average incomes. This is particularly true in the northern areas which have some of the least affordable rural areas in the country.

For first-time buyers in Scotland’s rural areas buying a property has become increasingly more expensive. Not only do they pay more for a home in a rural setting (£113,714) compared to one in an urban area (£105,495), the average FTB price has significantly increased from £48,715 in 2001 – an increase of 133% over the decade. In contrast, in urban areas the average price has increased from £49,810 in 2001- a 112% rise.

Nitesh Patel, housing economist at Bank of Scotland, said: "Living in the countryside is an aspiration for many homeowners, attracted by the prospect of a better quality of life, open space and a cleaner environment.

“This ideal for a life in the country has come at a cost with house prices doubling in value over the past decade in Scotland – more than in urban areas. However, for first-time buyers average price has risen by even more, limiting their prospects for getting on the housing ladder.”