Falkirk and Grangemouth '˜average' properties are still buyer-friendly
Grangemouth now has the dubious selling point of being the cheapest town for property in Scotland - and Falkirk is also a snip for the homes investor looking to acquire a bargain.
But these property generalisations - from, respectively, Bank of Scotland and Your Move - tell just part of a complex story about why some areas are markedly more or less expensive than others where the style of properties seems essentially the same.
A good example is West Dunbartonshire, which for years has been seen as a cheapie in the property stakes.
Wracked by high unemployment and dominated by areas including Clydebank and Dumbarton, it might not seem to have a lot going for it.
But exactly the same area has deluxe properties, some great facilities, and the double attraction of easy access to Glasgow on one side, and to the National Park and Clyde Coast on the other.
Exactly the same is true in Falkirk and Grangemouth, once you take the very obvious into account.
Experienced property agents are usually the first to point out that prices can vary dramatically between adjacent streets, never mind between districts.
The headline prices which put Falkirk at £145,000 for an average home are arguably meaningless once you start looking at individual properties.
In Cumbernauld some homes can be among the cheapest to be found anywhere in Scotland, but within that there are some impressive “Ponderosa” style bungalows - they are in nice areas, and have a “footprint” much larger than is typical of newbuilds today.
That’s because they were built a few decades ago, before developers started to squeeze as many homes as possible into a given area.
Then there’s Dullatur, a wealthy enclave, which has to be seen as separate from Cumbernauld in its own right.
Edinburgh continues to lead the field on sheer expense (and so the exodus to commuter towns will continue), but Falkirk’s near neighbour Linlithgow is also keeping its reputation as a dear town to buy into - even although, again, there will be properties which are still within the reach of mainstream salaries.
Nevertheless the contrast between the upper and lower ends of the scale seems stark.
Bank of Scotland says Grangemouth is the least expensive town in Scotland with an average price of £1,016 per square metre, followed by Bellshill in North Lanarkshire £1,030 per square metre - in both cases less than half the average rate for Linlithgow (£2,669 per square metre).
The Bank intends these comparisons as an overall guide, not a definitive analysis, but is giving prospective buyers a different slant from simple overall price - it’s trying to indicate how much space you’re getting for your money.
Falkirk prices have shown some growth over a sluggish summer, and Your Move puts the average home value at £145,000 - as opposed to the whopping £273,897 you’d pay in Edinburgh.
Meanwhile on the other side of Falkirk the average price of a home in Glasgow is said to be £158,367, just £2,000 short of the peak it achieved in February of this year.
But who stays in “an average home” anyway?
The variety you obviously find across the vast expanse of Glasgow means any average is bound to be skewed by the posh mansions of Pollokshields at the dear end, and by the estates in peripheral estates on the other.
The latest figures are the arguably the broadest of broad-brush pictures, and as ever with property the devil is in the detail - and you need to see the individual property to assess its true worth.