Detached homes first choice for Scotland’s movers

31 May 2023

  • Detached homes are the most popular choice for people moving home in Scotland, growing from 27% to 34% of purchases, over the last 10 years.
  • Flats have fallen in popularity, down 5%, to 17%.
  • Scottish home movers paid 5% more for their properties than last year.
  • Home movers pay 64% more than 10 years ago.

Key findings:

  • 34% of Scottish home movers chose a detached house in the first half of 2023
  • £283,479 Average house price paid by home movers in Scotland in 2023
  • Rise in average price paid by Scottish home movers is 64%


Not so ‘flat’ market

Detached homes were the most common property chosen by movers, accounting for 34% of sales, compared to 32% for the UK. This is a significant increase on ten years ago; rising from 27%. Semi-detached homes accounted for 21% of sales, unchanged from 2013.

The popularity of flats has waned with movers, just 17% opted for flats, studios and apartments in 2023. This compares to 22% in 2013, which was twice the UK average at the time.

Detached homes are also the most popular choice for movers in the East Midlands (45%), Northern Ireland (42%), and in five other parts of the UK. Semi-detached topped movers’ choices in the North of England, while in London, flats (37%) were the most common property.

Transaction volumes

The number of home moves in Scotland during the first half of 2023 was 10,380 – the lowest number since the pandemic and down 29% on the same period last year. The previous low was in the first half of 2020, when 9,290 home moves completed – caused by the market shutting down due to the pandemic.

Within the different parts of the UK, the annual change in the number of home movers is consistently down by around 30% with one exception: Northern Ireland, which saw a 65% drop.

Looking back 10 years paints a different view; the North West saw a fall of just 8%, compared to a 41% reduction in London, and a 45% increase in Northern Ireland. Scottish first-time buyer numbers also dropped during the period as a number of support schemes ended and the pressure of rising inflation and interest rates took effect. In the first half of the year 10,488 first-time mortgages were completed, around a third fewer than the previous year.

This is also the lowest recorded by Bank of Scotland’s Home Mover Review since the pandemic. First-time buyers now make up 50% of home buyers in Scotland, compared to 37% in 2009.

Prices rise

The average price paid by people moving home in Scotland has risen by 5% in the last 12 months to £283,479 and is 64% higher than 10 years ago. Some of this rise can be attributed to the increased popularity of detached houses, which attract a premium.

Compared to the UK, prices have grown at a steadier pace in Scotland. For comparison, buyers across the whole UK paid £428,647 to make their next step on the housing ladder, up 10% year on year, and up 101% since 2013. Movers in London paid the most, £746,599, while those in the South East of England saw the biggest annual rise - 12% in the last 12 months, and 111% over 10 years, to £591,247.

Graham Blair, head of mortgages, Bank of Scotland said: “With the house prices paid by home movers in Scotland up 5% in the last year, home ownership is still proving a safe place for investment and is the aspiration of many. However, higher interest rates and inflation at levels not seen in a generation, put the brakes on the housing market in the early part of this year.

“Looking ahead, industry is already showing greater confidence and we may soon begin to see signs of a rebounding housing market.”