Borders rail link to spark property sales boost

A test train on th'e at Shawfair station. Picture: Julie Bull
A test train on th'e at Shawfair station. Picture: Julie Bull
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The new Borders Railway has yet to have an impact on the housing market in Midlothian, according to new figures.

But property experts believe that is all about to change, with house sales expected to accelerate rapidly when the line reopens on Sunday after almost half a century.

Residential sales within five miles of the new stops have risen by 50.2 per cent in Midlothian, and 26.3 per cent in the Borders over the last three years, according to Registers of Scotland (ROS).

However, the increase is less than in the wider Midlothian and Borders area, which has seen rises of 60.6 per cent and 30.1 per cent respectively.

Average house prices have also remained largely unaffected. Since the railway was announced, prices near the route in Midlothian have grown 6.1 per cent to £166,639, while houses within five miles of the new Borders stations have seen average prices increase by 4.5 per cent to £143,283.

Across the local authority areas as a whole, average house prices in Midlothian have risen by 13.4 per cent, and by 9.5 per cent in the Borders.

Maria Botha-Lopez, business analyst at ESPC, said the slower than expected sales could be blamed on people being “often reluctant” to move close to where works are being carried out.

She added: “This would explain why there has been little impact on the sales near to the stations along the new Borders Railway. However, we anticipate that once the rail services are fully under way, properties near to the stations will become a desirable prospective.

“The Borders and Midlothian areas offer rural living while also being commutable to Edinburgh, and the Borders Railway will certainly open up more opportunities and make commuting and travelling much more convenient.”

The line was closed in 1969 but after years of campaigning a deal was struck between Transport Scotland and Network Rail to restore services.

The move is expected to provide a major boost, with new housing developments springing up around Newtongrange and Gorebridge, which will each have a new station, enhancing the commuter offering to Edinburgh.

Rhona Mackay, head of data for ROS, said: “It is widely expected that the new line will stimulate interest in the property market in the areas close to the stations, and there have already been a number of new-build developments within the railway catchment areas in recent years, so it will be interesting to revisit these statistics again once the new link is up and running.”

Jim Muirhead, Labour councillor for Midlothian South, said: “Sales have already been picking up quite considerably, and planning officers have reported housing sites are starting to fill up. It’s still early days and I think we will see a speeding up of sales in locations near the stations, providing the economy moves in the right direction.”