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The Most Loyal Places in Scotland

The UK property market saw the highest mortgage interest rates in 20 years, with an average high for a 30-year fixed mortgage being 8.45% and a 1.4% average decrease in house prices. However, during this downturn, Scotland seemed to be the one glimmer of hope for UK property markets, with Scotland seeing the highest annual house price rise of any UK region (3.3%) and the only country on mainland Britain to see a rise in house prices over the year.It is therefore no surprise that Scotland was a popular place for people to move to in 2023. Using moving data from across the UK in 2023, Compare My Move has found that last year, people moving to Scotland from the rest of the UK rose by 10.1% year-on-year.

The Most Popular Scottish Places to Move to

Although people moving to Scotland has risen by 10.1% in the last year, some places in Scotland were much more popular than others. We’ve ranked the most popular places in Scotland for people moving to Scotland below, along with the average house price and how this popularity has changed from 2022.

Most popular Scottish places to move from the rest of the UK

RankPlaceAverage House PricePercentage of MoversPopularity Change

1=

Edinburgh

£335,189

31.3%

+ 27.4%

2=

Glasgow

£211,231

25.6%

+ 16.2%

3=

Aberdeen

£184,982

5.6%

+ 3.0%

4=

Inverness

£221,852

4.5%

+ 3.8%

5

Dundee

£172,719

3.6%

+ 8.3%

6

Stirling

£227,180

2.6%

+ 37.1%

7

Dunfermline

£202,135

2.3%

+ 147.1%

8

Perth

£197,691

2.3%

- 37.9%

9=

Ayr

£205,091

2.1%

+ 22.6%

10

Livingston

£234,266

2.1%

+ 26.7%


Edinburgh has retained the top spot as the most popular place for people outside of Scotland to move to, with 31.3% of all people moving to Scotland moving to Edinburgh in 2023, and has seen a 27.4% increase in the number of movers from 2022. This is despite its inflated house prices, being on average, £123,958 more expensive to purchase than second place, Glasgow.

Glasgow also saw a significant increase in people moving to the city, with 25.6% of people moving to Scotland, moving to Glasgow. The 16.2% increase in people moving to Glasgow from 2022, despite being the second highest of the top 5, was not enough to shorten the gap to Edinburgh’s popularity from the 2022 rankings.

Dundee, Stirling, Dunfermline and Livingston all saw an increase in the popularity rankings from 2022, with Dunfermline seeing a massive increase of just under 150%. A big factor in this would be Dunfermline’s proximity to Edinburgh. We can see that Edinburgh is a very popular place to move, but its high house prices may set movers back. Dunfermline has an average house price of £202,135, which is just over £133,000 less than Edinburgh at just a 40-minute commute away. This means that people may choose to save money by moving to Dunfermline and communing to the Scottish capital.

Why Are People Moving to Scotland?

The house prices and the cost of living are likely the main drivers for the increase in moving from the rest of the UK to Scotland. Scotland’s cost of living is around £342 a month cheaper than England’s cost of living. Below are a few of the individual price differences from livingcost.org, based on one person.

Cost of Living ExamplesScotlandEngland

Public transport pass (monthly)

£61.7

£68

Utility bills (monthly)

£137

£138

Gym membership (monthly)

£32.4

£35.1

Chicken Breast (1kg)

£6.59

£6.84

Beer in a Pub (0.5L)

£4.23

£4.88

Taxi (5 miles)

£14.2

£14.6

Preschool (monthly)

£1047

£1287

Dinner in a Restaurant for 2

£55.7

£59.3

NHS Prescriptions (per item)

Free

£9.65

The average house prices for 2023 in Scotland were also a good reason to move to the country. House prices in Scotland, on average, are £112,000 cheaper than the English average and £24,000 cheaper than Wales. With a cheaper cost of living and lower house prices at a time that saw an increase in both the mortgage rates and the cost of living, it's no wonder Scotland was such a popular place to move to in 2023.

The Most Loyal Places in Scotland

Although Edinburgh retains its position as the most popular place to move, the most popular place to stay in Scotland is Glasgow. 51.7% of people who move from Glasgow, move to somewhere else in Glasgow. This makes Glasgow the most loyal place in Scotland, and the 3rd most loyal place in the UK, joining Sheffield and London as the only 3 cities to have a mover retention rate of over 50%.

Scottish Mover Retention Table

RankScottish PlacesPopulationHouse PriceMover RetentionDifference from 2022

1=

Glasgow

632,350

£211,231

51.7%

- 2.9%

2=

Edinburgh

506,520

£335,189

43.7%

- 5.5%

3

Falkirk

35,590

£167,738

38.5%

+ 7.9%

4

Perth

47,350

£197,691

36.1%

- 6.2%

5

Ayr

46,260

£205,091

36%

+ 7.2%

6

Motherwell

32,840

£156,877

35.4%

- 9.3%

7

Paisley

77,270

£154,166

35%

+ 4.5%

8

Kilmarnock

46,970

£143,617

34%

- 9.8%

9

Dundee

148,210

£172,719

33.7%

+ 8.2%

10

Aberdeen

198,590

£184,982

31.1%

+ 19.1%

Although both Glasgow and Edinburgh top the list for keeping their movers, both have seen a decline in mover retention from 2022. Edinburgh saw the biggest decline of the two, retaining 5.5% less of their movers in 2023 than in 2022.

House prices would have had a significant impact on the amount of people staying in the Scottish capital, with people likely leaving to take advantage of cheaper house prices elsewhere. This could be true of the other places in our top 10 that have lost retention. The average house price among places that have gained mover retention from 2022 is just under £32,000 cheaper than those places that have lost mover retention, indicating a need to move to cheaper areas.

Solidifying this point is the recent break into the top 10 by cities Dundee and Aberdeen. In 2022, both of these cities have a much larger population than the 6 destinations above them and rank as the 3rd and 4th most-populated places in Scotland. They also boast cheaper house prices than Glasgow and Edinburgh, which could likely be the reason why they have seen the largest increase in mover retention in 2023. People want to live in the city but are put off by the high property prices of Scotland’s top 2 cities.

What’s In Store For 2024?

Mortgage rates have since dropped slightly and are not at the same peak they were in the highest parts of 2023. UK house prices rose 0.7% month-on-month in January and saw a further recovery in the annual rate of change, with prices down just 0.2% compared with a year ago, according to the latest Nationwide house price index. This shows a positive direction for the housing market, and people are buying more houses.

Compare My Move has also seen a significant rise in people looking for conveyancers at the start of the new year, indicating that there will be an uptick in people moving house in 2024. We have asked Dave Sayce, MD and Founder of Compare My Move what 2024 could look like for Scottish movers:

“At the start of this year, we have already seen an increase in people moving to Scotland as well as within Scotland. The housing market in Scotland started to repair itself before the rest of the UK and because of this, still seems to be the most lucrative place for investors currently.

As far as the Scottish cities are concerned. Glasgow and Edinburgh are still very much the front runners toward the start of the year. However, Glasgow is beating Edinburgh with people moving to the city and people moving within the city. It is looking likely that Glasgow will be the most popular of the two in 2024.”

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