Nairn property still relatively cheap
I just wanted to try and dispel the myth that Nairn is particularly expensive to live.
Comparing Nairn House Prices
I keep a regular eye on the Highland property market – I like to see how Nairn house prices are growing, and how they compare with the rest of the Highlands. And by comparison, Nairn is still relatively cheap.
The yardstick I use is the four-bedroom property style I live in off Lochloy Road.
Currently, these are marketed at around £230,000, depending on minor differences such as garage and garden size – and they are struggling to sell at this price.
Estate Agents had tried to push the prices above £250,000 briefly at the end of last year, then quickly brought them down.
Here’s an example of one of these four bedroom homes in Nairn – asking price, £233,000:
However, let’s compare this to similar properties in nearby regions:
Beauly: For a similar property, fixed price of £255,000:
Muir of Ord: Only 3 bedrooms, asking price is over £245,000
Dingwall: is also more expensive at offers over £259,000
Aviemore: Similar marketed at offers over £255,000
Similar properties at Croy and Cawdor have recently come up nearer £270,000.
Nairn is certainly looking cheaper! The difference may only be around £20,000 in some regions, but that’s still around a 10% more affordable.
In fact, when we came up here in 2006, we were already sold on the Inverness-Nairn area, but Nairn was definitely the more affordable – you couldn’t get a four-bedroom detached for £200,000 then outside of Nairn.
Even though prices have risen, Nairn still remains very much cheaper by comparison not simply to most of the rest of the Highland, but also much of Scotland.
The dangers of averages
So the first point to make is that compared to the surrounding area, Nairn is probably the most affordable place to live within commuting distance to Inverness.
The second is that these surveys tend to be badly skewed by averages. I ran a study of the government’s own records on selling prices via the DLGC records early in 1997: Property statistics investors needs to watch.
Average house prices were reported to have risen 8.49% between Q4 2005 and Q4 2006, but this is what they looked like broken down by property type:
Growth by property:
Detached – 6.78%
Terraced – 9.23%
ALL prop.- 8.49%
It also turned out that detached properties were weighted towards sales in the south of England, with detached properties in the north of England rising by around 5.1%.
Average house prices involve assumptions that can easily mislead – for example, current reporting would have us believe that average house prices have fallen around 15% – and yet, again, when you look at the DLCG figures, the biggest falls are in flats and terraced properties – the very types that were inflating the most in the bubble years, and are now deflating fastest, with detached properties generally seeing small falls by percentage terms.
So we could talk about averages and how Nairn compares to other seaside towns in Scotland, but you can be assured that the criteria of what constitutes a “seaside town” and “average price” involve a number of assumptions that may not give an accurate picture.
That’s another reason why I like to keep an eye on the property market in general – so I can try and keep a good eye on the realities of property prices (and sometimes write up observations at the Home Move property portal).
Why Nairn is a great place to live
The strange thing is that Nairn has so much more going for it than a number of the compared areas.
Aside from the gorgeous beaches, Nairn has other factors which should have a positive impact on house prices:
- Train links: train station on the Inverness-Aberdeen line
- Road links: Main Inverness-Aberdeen road (A96) plus east Inverness is less subject to congestion that west or north Inverness
- Air links: we’re only 8 miles from the airport!
Most retail development around Inverness is now developing on the eastern side, which Nairn can take advantage of, plus retail development within Nairn itself (ie, Sainsburys) means there should be more choice on our doorstep soon.
That in addition to the stunning surroundings, views over the Moray Firth, Ben Wyvis, and the Sutherland Coast, plus easy access to the beautiful and historic Culbin Forest, not to mention the rolling hills of Nairnshire – and the general low flooding risk to existing developments (as opposed to other towns across the Moray Firth – Inverness, Forres, Elgin – which all have significant flooding problems).
All in all, Nairn should be one of the most up and coming areas of the Highlands, and certainly property prices at present do not reflect the advantages of living in the town.
So while there may be concerns about affordable housing in Nairn, the truth as I see it is that Nairn remains one of the most affordable places to live in the region.
In which case, concerns about development in the town I think should be less about affordability, as much as sustainability and considered development within the existing character of Nairn.