Green MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, Mark Ruskell, has warned that rising house prices are pushing local people out of St Andrews. He described the housing crisis in the area as “acute” and said that “communities are being displaced by holiday houses”. His comments came after independent property consultant Galbraith revealed that premium properties are selling well in Fife, noting a 17.6 per cent rise in the number of properties priced at £500,000 or above being sold in the area.
George Lorimer, who handles property sales and lettings in Fife, described St Andrews, Cupar and the East Neuk as “hot spots”. He added: “Part of the reason is that the strength of the market in St Andrews pushes up demand – and prices – in neighbouring areas. The East Neuk has always been a popular seaside destination but now it is increasingly fashionable, with great independent bars, shops and restaurants. Cupar is also a really lovely place to live and, like the East Neuk, benefits from some lovely traditional architecture and appealing house styles.”
The figures are a concern to Mr Ruskell, who noted that there were more than 2300 homelessness applications in the Kingdom last year, but that just 665 new homes for social rent were completed. He said “These figures show a housing sector which is completely out of touch with most people’s housing needs in Fife. “Local people are being pushed out by inflated prices like these.”
Editor’s note: The St Andrews resident campaign group, the Confederation of St Andrews Residents’ Association (CSARA) has previously highlighted the plight of local people displaced by high property prices fuelled by demand for HMOs, second homes and holiday lets. HMOs alone have resulted in the loss of some 600 family homes and there are 260 Airbnb properties in St Andrews alone – with more on other platforms. The precise number of second homes in St Andrews is uncertain but to anyone walking around the streets of the historic centre, the numbers are clearly on the rise, with numerous properties closed up semi-permanently.
There are approximately 400 on the St Andrews housing waiting list.
QV has previously reported on the impact of HMOs on St Andrews and the fact that many second home owners do not pay council tax but use a loophole which allows them to claim small business rates exemption.