This £5m castle in Scotland has been named alongside the UK’s most ‘unloved’ homes

AN Edinburgh castle which once hosted the likes of Charles Dickens, Hans Christian Andersen and Sir Walter Scott, has been included in a list of Britain’s most ‘unloved’ properties after its asking price dropped by £1 million.
Craigcrook Castle has remained unsold for a number of years. Picture: ContributedCraigcrook Castle has remained unsold for a number of years. Picture: Contributed
Craigcrook Castle has remained unsold for a number of years. Picture: Contributed

Situated in the affluent Ravelston area of the Capital, Craigcrook Castle went on the market in 2014 for the first time in almost three centuries.

With its handsome turrets and beautiful gardens, the 16th century pile was put for sale with an asking price of £6 million.

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The stately home dates from the 16th century.The stately home dates from the 16th century.
The stately home dates from the 16th century.
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But now after half a decade without a buyer, it seems the five-bedroom, three-storey stately home is struggling with its lofty price tag and has been included in a list of the UK’s most unloved properties.

Online estate agents researched property markets in 100 major towns and cities, to find houses or flats that have been on the market for years without budging.

One house in the Anfield are of Liverpool was first listed for sale in April 2010 for £145,000, and even a £10,000 price drop hasn’t tempted any buyers to date.

Richard Demarco kept his archives at the castle. Picture: Gareth EastonRichard Demarco kept his archives at the castle. Picture: Gareth Easton
Richard Demarco kept his archives at the castle. Picture: Gareth Easton

It’s a similar sorry tale for a two-bed flat in Darlington, County Durham, which was first listed in May 2010 for £145,000. Despite the owners dropping the price by 17%, eight years have passed and buyers are a little thin on the ground. While, a one-bed flat in Middlesbrough, on at £36,995, has had its price dropped seven times; but even a 33% cut in the initial list price, hasn’t seen a sold board go up outside.

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But of course it’s not just the cheaper properties that are struggling to find buyers.

A five-bedroom house in Sandbanks, Poole, known for being one of the most expensive coastal real estates in the world, has been on the market for almost five years. It was reduced in price by half a million pounds in December 2018.

And Edinburgh’s own Craigcrook Castle has also dropped in value, with its original £6 million asking price reduced by £1m last July.

The Grade B Listed property had passed hands a number of times before John Strachan acquired the castle and left it to the Craigcrook Mortification Trust in 1719.

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Since then, it has hosted such illustrious visitors as Alfred Lord Tennyson, Hans Christian Andersen, Charles Dickens, George Eliot and Sir Walter Scott.

All visited when the castle was owned by Lord Jeffrey, founder of the Edinburgh Review.

Parts of the castle were also remodelled by William Playfair, the architect of Edinburgh’s New Town.

In recent years, the castle has been let on a long lease for commercial purposes and in the 1970s, a single storey annex was added to the eastern wing of the castle. Since this period, the castle has been used as offices.

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Legendary artist and arts promoter Richard Demarco kept his archives at the property.

According to research by Housesimple, the UK’s 20 most unloved properties* have been on the market between 57 months and just under nine years. Seven properties have been on the market since 2010 and nine of the ten homes that have been listed for the longest period of time, are located in the north of England.

Sam Mitchell, CEO of online estate agents, comments: “There are a number of reasons why a home might not sell quickly; from macroeconomic factors to the condition of the property and the initial marketed price. There is not much a seller can do about the economic climate. All they can do is give themselves the best possible chance of finding a buyer whatever is happening in the wider property market and the global economy. And a property should sell in any climate if it is marketed correctly.

“A good estate agent should find you a buyer, but it’s still worth doing your own research before listing your property. Homeowners can easily find out what properties are selling for in their area to make sure theirs is priced accurately for the market. And once your property is listed, it’s important to keep on top of how viewings are going. Ensure you have access to performance reports, to check not just how many viewings you’ve had but what feedback buyers are giving, such as the price is too high, or the interior feels a little tired.

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“Don’t forget, it’s vital your property views well both online and offline. You need high-quality photos online as scrolling through pages on a property portal is likely to be the first time a potential buyer will see your property. And make sure your home is clean and tidy, and free of clutter when people actually come round to view. Potential buyers make quick decisions on a property, and you want the first impression to be a positive one.

“If you have a buyer who is considering making an offer, but is wavering on the price, then be willing to negotiate to push the sale over the line. If it’s a matter of a few thousand pounds to secure a sale, then weigh up whether you can afford to take a lower offer. It’s likely that you will be able to cover it by negotiating a lower price on the home you’re buying.”

The following table shows the 20 UK properties that have been on the market the longest period of time:

• Anfield, Liverpool

£134,950/3-bed semi-detached house


• Darlington, County Durham

North East

£120,000/2-bed flat


• Whiston, Rotherham

£624,999/5-bed detached house


• Cramlington, Newcastle-upon-Tyne

£69,950/1-bed bungalow


• Chesterfield

£120,000/2-bed semi-detached


• Blackburn, Lancashire

£110,000/3-bed bungalow


• Lakeside, Doncaster

£120,000/3-bed flat


• Whalley Range, Manchester

£330,000/2-bed flat


• Dore, Sheffield

£750,000/4-bed house


• Ormesby, Middlesbrough

£36,995/1-bed flat


• Commonhead, Glasgow

£49,000/1-bed flat


• Farnworth, Bolton

£59,000/1-bed flat


• Wakefield

£109,950/2-bed terraced


• Worsbrough, Barnsley

£450,000/4 bed house


• Edlington, Doncaster

£52.950/3-bed terraced house


• Gateshead

£400,000/3 bed flat


• Norwich

£250,000/4 bed end terrace house


• Bishop Cuthbert, Hartlepool

£410,000/4 bed detached house


• Sandbanks, Poole

£5,995,000/5 bed detached house


• Ravelston, Edinburgh

£5,000,000/5 bed Craigcrook Castle


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