A SMALL town in Midlothian has emerged as Scotland’s best performer in the property stakes over the past decade.
The average house price in Penicuik rocketed from just £62,000 in 2000 to £172,000 last year, a whopping 179% increase and the biggest anywhere in Scotland.
The figures were revealed in a Bank of Scotland survey which showed that prices throughout the
country rose by 83% over the same period.
According to the research, the average house price in Scotland shot up by over £50,000 over the decade from £61,039 in late 2000 to £111,780 at the end of 2010.
But Scotland is lagging behind the rest of the UK, where prices went up by 91%.
Penicuik, just 10 miles south of Edinburgh, is best known for its paper-making mills which shut five years ago. But even the local provost admits most Scots would struggle to place it on a map.
One of the town’s estate agents, Craig Foster, said proximity to the capital and value for money had made Penicuik a surprise hit.
He said: “A lot of people who can’t afford to live in Edinburgh opt for Penicuik because there is great transport into the city – buses every eight minutes and you can be there within half an hour.
“What you can get for your money in Penicuik speaks volumes – for the same price of a two-bedroom detached home in Edinburgh, you can get a four-bedroom house here in Penicuik.”
Mr Foster, property manager at Allan McDougall, added: “It is in a nice location, close to the Pentlands and on the way out to the Scottish Borders.
“We recently sold a five bedroom Georgian house on the Main Street for just under £400,000 – it is quality but also such good value.”
Amy Rafferty, 26, was born and bred in Edinburgh, but moved to Penicuik with her partner Arran Houston, 26, just over a year ago, to start their family.
She said: “We were looking to move from out of our flat in Edinburgh and get ourselves a house.
“I had a few friends in Penicuik and had heard good things about the town.
“There are plenty of good schools in the area, and we now have a six month old son, Andrew, so it was definitely something we considered when choosing a place.
“To be honest, I never expected to be living out here but I think in the past few years it’s really been developed and seems to be a lot bigger.”
Provost of Midlothian and local councilor for Penicuik Adam Montgomery has lived in the town for
over 30 years, and raised his three children there.
Councillor Montgomery, 60, said: “For anyone that doesn’t want to live in the city, Penicuik is a first class place out-of-town area – even though most people in Scotland couldn’t locate it on the map.
“All three of my children, who are now adults themselves, moved away for University and traveling but have all come back to set up in Penicuik.
“I often think the locals here don’t properly appreciate it because they’ve been here so long, but when people move into the area they are really pleased.”
Following close on the heels of Penicuik was Irvine, in North Ayrshire, which saw a 173% rise in house prices and Aberdeenshire town Peterhead, which increased by 171%.