The best places to live in rural Scotland
People living in Aberdeenshire have the best quality of life of any rural area in Scotland, according to a new survey by the Bank of Scotland.
It is the fourth time it has come top since 2006. As well as higher than average life expectancy and level of school qualifications, Aberdeenshire has one of the lowest population densities in Great Britain at 39 people per square kilometre (although the average price of a house in Aberdeenshire is 5.7 times the average gross annual local earnings, higher than the Scottish average).
In second place are the Shetland Islands (population density of just 15 people per square kilometre) and the Orkney Islands (only one burglary per 10,000 households. Here are the latest top five and their rankings in the previous survey:
|Local Authority||Quality of Life Ranking 2012||Quality of Life Ranking 2011|
A report from Lloyds TSB Insurance suggests UK homeowners spent £14 billion on their gardens in the last 12 months. Their report ‘Garden Values’ says people are doing up their outside space instead of selling their homes – hot tubs (10%) and summerhouses (8%) are popular buys. Apparently, the average garden is now worth £1,928.
Mortgage lending up
The Council of Mortgage Lenders estimates that total gross mortgage lending increased to £11.6 billion in March, 9% higher than February’ but 8% lower than March 2012. CML chief economist Bob Pannell said: “Conditions in the housing and mortgage markets continue to show signs of improving. The improvement in funding markets over the past year, reinforced by the incremental benefits of the Funding for Lending Scheme, has been the key catalyst behind stronger housing activity. The Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme – while still embryonic as yet – holds significant firepower, and has the potential to increase activity from 2014.”
Tenants sitting tight
Tenants are now staying in one property for a record of 20 months, according to the latest research from the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA). This figure is up year-on-year from an average of 19 months in the first three months of 2012. Ian Potter, Managing Director of ARLA, said: “Our data suggested that tenants are increasingly sitting tight in their property and either reluctant, or unable to move. This stagnation means fewer and fewer properties are freed up. We know that many tenants renting with ARLA member agents are ‘frustrated first time buyers’ so it will be interesting to see if the recently announced Government initiatives such as ‘Help to Buy’ will impact upon these numbers.”
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