Read our blog post for our advice on buying in Scotland - everything you need to know.
Our advice on buying a property in Scotland
A good quality of life, spectacular scenery, rich cultural and sporting traditions and low property prices are just some of the factors that lead people to buy property in Scotland.
As part of its unique national identity, England's neighbour has its own legal and education systems, and its own church. Following a referendum in 1997, it enjoys partial self-government.
The decline of traditional heavy manufacturing industries after World War II had a negative effect on Scotland, socially and economically. Since the 1970s, however, the economy has been revitalised, largely as a result of the wealth generated by North Sea oil and gas, and, more recently, the booming financial services and high-tech sectors. The future looks full of promise.
Types of property
Like other parts of the UK, Scotland has a variety of property types, including detached, semi-detached and terraced houses, bungalows and apartments.
Distinctive regional housetypes include the 19th-century sandstone tenements of Glasgow and the Georgian townhouses of Edinburgh's New Town. Attractive Victorian/Edwardian stone villas are found throughout the country, as are picturesquely turreted homes with a baronial flavour.
Scotland seems to be weathering much of the recent house price turmoil relatively well, and prices in some areas are still rising. At the same time, many areas remain among the cheapest parts of the UK in which to buy property. These factors combine to make investment there an attractive proposition.
Scotland's buy-to-let market is active, especially in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen, where demand for apartments in particular is high.
Popular buying locations
Since most of Scotland's population and job opportunities are concentrated in and around Greater Glasgow and Edinburgh, much housing market activity centres on these areas.
Today, Glasgow has shed its former down-at-heel image. The city centre has world-class shops, restaurants, museums, galleries, a concert hall, an international conference centre, a science centre with IMAX cinema, and a sports arena. Further regeneration and investment are in progress, to underpin growth and the city's position as host of the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Edinburgh is Scotland's most expensive area for property purchase, the average price there now topping £200,000. Famous for, among other things, its annual international festival, its imposing castle and its numerous museums and galleries, the city draws visitors from throughout the world. It is also a key European centre for the financial services industry.
Towns popular with Edinburgh workers priced out of the city's property market include Prestonpans (East Lothian) and Eskbank, Newtongrange and Penicuik (Midlothian).
The areas around Dundee and Inverness have grown in popularity, but the great success story among the regional hubs has been Aberdeen, centre of the North Sea oil and gas industry, and the areas surrounding it. The city saw prices rise by around 24 per cent in 2006.
Scotland's north-western regions, Highland and Eilean Siar (Western Isles), have fewer employment opportunities and hence smaller populations. They attract retirees, artists and craftspeople, and those yearning for a simpler life with plenty of space around them.
In many areas, country houses are being snapped up, often by purchasers from outside Scotland.
With prices in Glasgow and Edinburgh rising inexorably, properties in cheaper areas within commuting distance of the two cities are in great demand.
Over the past decade, Musselburgh, just outside Edinburgh, has seen some of Scotland's highest property price rises. As well as easy commuting, it offers good facilities and a seaside setting. The opening of the new Queen Margaret University campus in neighbouring Craighall looks set to increase its popularity.
Situated between Edinburgh and Glasgow, North Lanarkshire is prime commuter territory. The former industrial town of Coatbridge has been transformed, with good entertainment and leisure facilities, including a heritage park and a country park. Investment in attracting businesses to the area is helping to ensure continued growth. A little further south, Motherwell is likewise on the up.
South east of Glasgow, Ayrshire's towns are attracting interest, much of it, again, from commuters. Since the completion of the M77 motorway in 2005, property prices in Kilmarnock have risen, but they are still moderate in comparison with adjacent districts. Ayr, too, is gaining in popularity. The announcement in March 2007 of a £28.5 million investment in affordable homes will give Ayrshire a further boost.
With thanks to BuyAssociation.