JK Rowling’s former mansion valued at £2.3m sold to finance wizard


JK ROWLING’S former mansion in Edinburgh was snapped up by a finance wizard who once ran a $40bn investment fund.

The eight-bedroom mansion, which was valued at £2.3m, was bought by Murdoch Murchison, an Edinburgh University-educated financier.

Mr Murchison spent part of his glittering career in the Bahamas, where he was said to have a “magic” formula for generating big financial returns for investors.

J.K Rowling moved out of the house in 2009 and it sold in November 2012.


The 47-year-old is now back in the city where he studied law, running an investment firm.

Rowling’s former home in Abbotsford Park sold in three weeks when it was put on the market in November, bucking the stagnant market.

Rettie and Co, the property firm which handled the sale, would only say at the time it went for “substantially more” than the £2.25 million asking price.

But the actual price paid by Mr Murchison seems likely to remain secret.

A spokeswoman for the Registers of Scotland, which records all property transactions in Scotland, confirmed the house was sold to Mr Murchison and his wife, Pamela.

The spokeswoman added that due to a “legal loophole” the purchase price would not be revealed.

Solicitors are allowed to provide either the sum paid or an accurate property value, she said, describing the practice as common in “high end” property sales.

Rowling left the house in 2009, but it only went on the market last year.

Rettie and Co would only say at the time it sold that it went for “substantially more” than the £2.25 million asking price.


At least four of the seven books about the boy wizard were written in the house, which dates back to the 19th Century.

The house originally consisted of two separate flats. Rowling bought the upper flat for £425,000 in 1999 after the first Harry Potter book became a huge hit.

She later bought the downstairs flat and converted the building into one home.

Describing the house as it went on the market, James Whitson of Rettie & Co said: “This house is as well maintained as any I have seen in the past five years.”

“The other great attraction is, that although it doesn’t look that wide from the outside, it is actually very deep. The side elevation just goes on and on.”

“The stitching-together has been very cleverly done.”

The property advert attracted 16,000 hits on Rettie & Co’s website, with many coming from overseas.

After the deal went through, Mr Whitson said: “This was an iconic house in Edinburgh and it was a privilege to be entrusted with its sale.”

According to the 2012 Sunday Times rich list, JK Rowling is worth around £560 million.


Mr Murchison spent 15 years at the Templeton Growth Fund, which was set up during the 1950s by American-born investor Sir John Templeton.

A review of a biography of Sir John said: “[the authors] use the benefit of hindsight to reveal the magic formula that Templeton’s record demonstrates.”

In 2007, Bloomberg reported Mr Murchison had stepped down from managing the $40 billion dollar fund along with it’s Euro-based sister fun and he was moving to Edinburgh.

He had been living in the Nassau in the Bahamas, where the growth fund was based, after working as an as an oil, gas and mining company analyst in London in the early 90s.

In 2011 he set up investment firm Kiltearn Partners in the capital, which seeks investment opportunities in undervalued companies.

In 2003 he gave an interview to a financial magazine where he heaped praise on RBS’s webcast features, saying it allowed him to converse with managers from the other side of the Atlantic.

He said at the time: “Royal Bank of Scotland does a great job on the webcast front – for me, sitting here in the Bahamas, that’s tremendous.”

Mr Murchison’s ivy-clad newly-acquired Edinburgh mansion has an intercom for secure entry onto the landscaped grounds.

Other famous authors, including crime writer Ian Rankin and Alexander McCall Smith, live nearby.

There was no reply at the property today, no signs of building work, and neighbours do not believe Mr Murchison has moved in.

One, who asked not to be named, said: “No, he’s definitely not moved in yet. We’ve not seen anyone going in at all.”

When asked about how much she thought the house had sold for, the neighbour said: “I don’t really know. We’ve just seen some figures in the papers, that’s it.”

Another neighbour, who also did not want to be named, said: “I have no idea when they’re moving in. I’ve not seen any movement at all across there.”

JK Rowling is worth around £560 million, according to the 2012 Sunday Times rich list.


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