The value of Scotland’s million pound-plus market soared from just over £400 million in 2020 to £583m last year.
Experts say a desire to pay out for an “idyllic out-of-town lifestyle” has driven unprecedented demand to relocate to rural locations since the first lockdown restrictions were imposed.
Melrose, East Lothian, the East Neuk of Fife, Newton Mearns, north Stirlingshire and east of Loch Lomond have all emerged as new hotspots for million pound homes in what is being described as a “staggering” jump in sales at the top end of the housing market.
However, Edinburgh was the “undisputed king” of the boom, responsible for nearly two thirds of the record tally of 419 properties sold, which easily outstripped the previous best of 289 in 2007, the year before the global financial crisis unfolded.
Edinburgh was also found to be home to nine of Scotland's ten most expensive streets during the analysis by property agents Rettie, with Colinton, Newington, Merchiston and Trinity among the most sought-after areas.
The company’s new research said the pandemic had “reshaped many aspects of life,” with changing lifestyle aspirations, enforced saving and shifting priorities all contributing to the surge in the market.
Its report states: “The Covid-19 pandemic has reshaped many aspects of life, and the latest figures for the £1m-plus housing market in Scotland reveal yet another departure from trend.
“Counting only homes registering values over £1m-plus, and excluding the likes of farms, estates, land or commercial buildings, 2021 has seen a staggering jump in sales at the top of the market.
“Over the course of 2021, there were 419 registered home sales over £1m, which was almost 50 per cent higher than during 2020, which itself was the highest recorded figure since the 2007 market boom.
“Of these sales, 78 per cent were detached, semi-detached or terraced family homes, an increase from around 72 to 74 per cent in the preceding five years.
“A key trend in the wake of the lockdown in spring 2020 has been the race for space and lifestyle, and the £1m-plus market has been no different.
“While the proportion of homes being bought in remote locations has risen, the most significant increase has been in accessible towns and rural regions outside main urban centres. In the post-lockdown market, buyers are more willing to pay for the idyllic out-of-town lifestyle."
Arisaig, in the West Highlands, Forfar, in Angus, Gargunnock, in Stirlingshire, and Newburgh, in Fife, were among the areas to see sales of properties worth more than £1m last year.
Dr John Boyle, director of research and strategy at Rettie, said: “People are adjusting how they work and the need to be within relative close proximity to a city is of less importance as many people continue to work remotely from home or in a flexible manner.
“Country properties have been in strong demand with local, national and international buyers often competing for the same property.”
Managing director Simon Rettie added: “One response to the post-lockdown world has been people’s willingness to consider more rural areas and accessible towns, and the sharp rise in demand for this type of living has caused prices to surge.”