Despite the distractions of the forthcoming Commonwealth Games, Ryder Cup, independence referendum and the Homecoming Scotland programme of events, all taking place in Scotland this year, estate agents north of the border are confident that the recent improvement in the Scottish property market will continue throughout 2014.

Rod Christie of CKD Galbraith sees the current market situation as being still very price sensitive: ‘Buyers are sticking rigidly to a predetermined budget and are prepared to hold out for a property that matches their specific requirements. Last year saw growth in Fife, the Borders and Perthshire, but less so in the north-east, the Highlands, the west coast and the southwest.We expect this trend to continue, with steady overall growth and the popular hotspots of Fife, Perthshire and Edinburgh being favoured over more rural or outlying regions.’

Mr Christie’s view is echoed by Tom Stewart-Moore of Strutt & Parker, who last year saw the first signs of revival in the market for ‘big chunky houses with a few acres of land’-a sector that’s been very much in the doldrums during the past several years. He cites the example of historic, Category A-listed Melville House, with 16 acres at Cupar, Fife, which came to the market with a guide price of £1.25 million in April last year and sold just before Christmas. Down in the Borders, the imposing 18th-century Menslaws, near Jedburgh, Roxburghshire, which came to the market in need of renovation at a guide price of £1.25m in 2011, found a buyer through Strutt & Parker at £900,000 in November 2013.

 

Howpasley House, Strutt & Parker, offers over £1.15m  

Still in border country, Strutt & Parker (0131-718 4481) are currently seeking ‘offers over £1.15m’ for the substantial, eight-bedroom, Georgian-style Howpasley House, with 270 acres of woods and grassland at the head of the beautiful Borthwick Water valley, 12 miles south of Hawick, Roxburghshire. The imposing stone house stands on land held by the Scott family as part of the Duke of Buccleuch’s estates for 400 years, before being sold privately in 1921, and both the house and its wonderful wildlife habitat have been lovingly maintained by its English owners, who bought Howpasley in 1992 and are now retiring southwards. The sale includes two holiday cottages, a traditional outbuilding with garaging for six cars, planning consent for a substantial extension to the main house and a range of farm buildings- plus the resident swan.

   

 Erkinholme, Smiths Gore, offers over £795,000

Many of the fine country houses scattered around the Borders were built on the proceeds of the region’s textile industry, among them the imposing Erkinholme at Langholm, Dumfriesshire, built in 1884 for Alexander Scott, who owned the Waverley Mills in Langholm, later the Edinburgh Woollen Mill. Currently for sale through Smiths Gore (0131-344 0880) at a guide price of ‘offers over £795,000′ for the main house with five acres of gardens and grounds, or ‘offers over £950,000′ to include the two-bedroom lodge house and a six-acre paddock, Erkinholme stands on high ground overlooking the town and the surrounding hills.

The house has 12,000sq ft of living accommodation on three floors, including a domed reception hall and three splendid reception rooms, with nine bedrooms and five bath/shower rooms on the two upper floors.

Beldorne, Strutt & Parker, offers over £850,000

Already well-known for its balmy micro-climate, the appeal of the Victorian town of Nairn, in the Highlands, has been boosted by the success of the new Castle Stuart Golf Links, says Kevin Maley of Strutt & Parker (01463 719171), who are selling Beldorney at Delnies, Nairn, a shrine to the game of golf built in 1902 for Frank Fairlie, a famous captain of Nairn Golf Club and an outstanding all-round sportsman.

‘Offers over £850,000′ are sought for the three-storey, Edwardian country house, listed Category B, which was designed in the Cotswold Revival style by a pupil of Lutyens. The house, which overlooks the Moray Firth, has four reception rooms, eight bedrooms, four bathrooms and seven acres of magnificent woodland gardens. The venue for many a lively party over the years, Beldorney was often visited by Noël Coward, a friend of Frank Fairlie’s son, Gerard, who wrote the ‘Bulldog Drummond’ books.

 

 The Artist’s cottage, CKD Galbraith, Offers over £595,000

Designed by the Glasgow-born architect and furniture designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh in 1900, The Artist’s Cottage, near the village of Farr in scenic Strathnairn, 12 miles south of Inverness, is for sale through CKD Galbraith (01463 224343) for ‘offers over £595,000′. With its striking white-harled walls, uncluttered lines and distinctive Rennie Mackintosh interior, the house is a classic of the genre, yet was only built in 1992, using the architect’s original working drawings held by the Hunterian Art Gallery in Glasgow.

Set against the backdrop of the Monadhliath mountains, the house, set in 1.2 acres of secluded grounds, has accommodation on two floors, including a modern kitchen, a dining hall, a sitting room, a study and four bedrooms on the ground floor and an impressive master suite-cum-studio and sixth bedroom on the first. Truly an artist’s dream, the studio enjoys penetrating north light and access to the balcony and rooftop terrace, with the added bonus of those spectacular Highland views.

* Country houses in Scotland for sale

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