Scottish Borders market steams ahead as railway celebrates first year

06 September 2016

As the Borders Railway celebrates its first anniversary, new research from Savills reveals the positive influence it has had on the residential market along its line.  The new railway, which runs from Edinburgh Waverly to Tweedbank in the Scottish Borders, carried its first passengers on 6th September and was officially opened by Her Majesty the Queen three days later. Overall, the number of transactions along the line has increased by 15% since it opened and there has been a modest increase in values.   
 
The Borders has long been one of Scotland’s best kept secrets compared to East Lothian, which has benefitted from its own local commuter rail link.  But whereas East Lothian has golf courses and beaches the Borders has rolling hills, green valleys and pretty settlements along the Tweed river, and offers comparative value for money. 
 
The closest settlements to Edinburgh along the line are Eskbank, Newtongrange and Gorebridge, all of which now have their own station and direct link to the capital, and the availability of the new railway has certainly increased the appeal of these new suburban locations.  They have benefited from the long-standing undersupply of affordable family housing within Edinburgh and the fact that developers began building in anticipation of the new line.  New sites are now well established with new owners using the commuter train to Edinburgh.   Transactions have increased by an average of 26% when we compare the first half of 2015 with the same period this year.  Eskbank in particular has witnessed significant increase in transactions; increasing from 35 to 57 and values have increased by 9% reaching an average of £302,785. Likewise Newtongrange has witnessed a fall in the number of transactions but values have increased by 17% suggesting a lack of supply in and around this stop. 
 
The Borders village of Stow is the only stop in the middle of the train line and the surrounding area has had a very positive year, with transactions increasing 26% to 48 and the average value by 11% reaching £136,822.
 
Moving deeper in to the Borders, the train stops in the market town of Galashiels, the key commercial centre and central communication point for the Scottish Borders. The town is known for textile manufacturing, rugby and is the location of Heriot-Watt University's School of Textiles and Design.  It has its own cinema, a number of restaurants and varied housing, from large detached period town houses to new build developments, and there are some imposing country homes in the surrounding areas. The town has seen an increase in house sales to 50 this year.  Meanwhile, average values have fallen back slightly, reflecting the lack of million pound sales since the introduction of LBTT which has penalised the top end of the market.   The impact of LBTT has also rippled out to Melrose which, with its private preparatory school, restaurants and array of independent delis, boutiques, antique shops, has traditionally been a hub for prime property.
 
Tweedbank, with its park and ride facility, is the last stop on the Scottish Borders line and serves communities throughout the southern Borders area, including St Boswells.  With its pretty cricket pitch, lovely white washed cottages, primary school and approved development plan for new housing, this popular Borders village has seen an active property market over the course of the year, with the number of transactions increasing from 17 to 24 sales, and average values increasing by 5% reaching £198,831.


Anna Gardiner of Savills Country Houses team said:  “The Borders Railway was eagerly anticipated by existing residents, looking to access all that Edinburgh has to offer from jobs, highly regarded schools and vibrant culture.  Equally, there was latent demand from developers and buyers, particularly those with growing families, who had been priced out of an overheated Edinburgh market. Visit Scotland also reported an upturn in tourism since the opening of the railway, an important part of the local economy, with increased visitor numbers to, for example, Melrose Abbey and Abbotsford House, the former residence of Sir Walter Scott.


“Originally from the Borders myself, it has been wonderful to see the glorious countryside from a different angle from the train.  Just over fifty minutes from start to finish, it quickly leaves Edinburgh behind and transports passengers towards a pretty landscape of heather-covered hills, church spires, fertile farmland, and attractive houses strung out along the River Tweed.  The Scottish Borders were always picturesque, but the new rail link is shining a spotlight on the Borders and buyers are now beginning to realise its many attributes.”

 
 

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Anna Gardiner

Anna Gardiner

Associate Director
Residential

Savills Edinburgh

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Beth Hocking

Beth Hocking

PR Manager
Press Office

Savills Edinburgh

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