The news that Stranraer is one of the least expensive seaside towns to live in Scotland is a reflection of the vulnerability of the local economy, according to local MP Russell Brown.
A survey by the Bank of Scotland found average house prices in the Wigtownshire town are below £100,000. In contrast, North Berwick on the east coast of Scotland saw average house prices rise to £327,518.
The figures reveal a dramatic divide between the east and west coasts of Scotland. Nine of the 10 most expensive seaside towns are located along the east coast with North Berwick in East Lothian topping the table as the country’s priciest coastal town with an average house price of £327,518 in 2012
Meanwhile, in western Scotland, a home in Girvan, South Ayrshire, North Ayrshire towns Irvine, Saltcoats and Ardrossan , Wick and Thurso in the Highlands, Stranraer in Dumfries and Galloway, Port Bannatyne on the Isle of Bute, Millport in Cumbrae and Greenock in Inverclyde complete the list of coastal places where average house prices remain in five figures.
The Bank of Scotland’s report analysed average seaside house prices last year and how they compared with levels in 2004.
Dumfries and Galloway MP Russell Brown said: “House prices are often used as an indicator of the strength of a local economy and if that is the case, then this survey reflects just how vulnerable and weak the Wigtownshire economy currently is. Whilst a low house price is good news for any potential buyer, high unemployment and shameful levels of low pay in the area mean that even on these figures a new home is beyond the means of far too many local families. The survey reflects a real east coast divide. In the east coast the economy has resulted in house prices rising significantly, whereas areas in the south west of Scotland are being left behind. It reflects the extent to which Stranraer is simply a forgotten town in the eyes of the Scottish Government.”
Stranraer and North Rhins Councillor Marion McCutcheon said, “If you are looking to buy a property in Stranraer then lower house prices make that easier. However, everyone knows that the reason for such low prices in Stranraer is because there isn’t currently a high demand for houses due to the lack of real job opportunities, especially for young people in the area. If we saw proper investment by the Scottish Government in the regeneration of the Waterfront and the wider town, this would strengthen the local economy and be reflected in a more buoyant housing market”.