This world famous Scottish town has an average house price more than twice the UK average. Why? Location. It has it in spades…beaches, golf, culture, heritage and a burgeoning foodies’ scene. Here’s why you should move to St Andrews.
St Andrews, the home of golf…St Andrews, home to the oldest university in Scotland. For more than six centuries, the links that intertwine golf and academia have shone a light on this beautiful town on Scotland’s east coast.
Whereas many seaside towns may be able to boast a beautiful beach, a golf course or two and perhaps even a university, St Andrews can lay claim to all of them. In fact, three beaches, seven golf courses (with more than 50 more within an hour’s drive) and Scotland’s oldest university…one with royal patronage and that regularly tops national and international rankings.
As golf has grown – the latest data shows more than 66 million people worldwide play the game – so St Andrews has capitalised, property prices mirroring the exponential growth. Today, the former Victorian villas are boutique hotels, guest houses and flats for the town’s students. More than anything, the demand for student accommodation drives prices. St Andrews’ resident population is just over 18,000. The university has a combined undergraduate and graduate roll of 10,425. Add in the huge increase through lockdown of people investing in ‘lock and leave’ holiday accommodation and the result is clear – prices driven to be amongst the highest in Scotland.
The majority of sales are flats, selling for an average price of almost £340,000, and terraced properties – many used for multiple occupancy – at an average of over £650,000. Semi-detached properties have been selling at just shy of £800,000.
St Andrews is unique. It won’t be for everybody. But if you have the funds and are looking for a home close to stunning coastline, surrounded by beautiful countryside and in a town that’s steeped in centuries of golfing and academic heritage, it may just prove to be your whole in one.
WHERE TO BUY
Property in St Andrews comes at a premium. As a result, long term plans for the town’s expansion are coming to fruition. St Andrews West (standrewswest.co.uk/) – a development of some 900 new homes, care homes, a new school, offices, shops and more – is underway. The university is a partner in the project. The first phase – 34 houses, 27 apartments and 35 flats – are being brought to the market by the development’s appointed agent, Rettie.
Beyond this, the town has a churn of property, mainly created by the wealthiest parents of students selling properties they have bought for their children. On graduation, most come back on the market.
There are many locations slightly inland from St Andrews where property prices are significantly more affordable. If you were to pick up your semi-detached property from St Andrews and deposit it less than ten miles inland in the medieval market town of Cupar, you would see your £800,000 depreciate to around £200,000. The £600,000 balance could buy a lot of fixtures and fittings!
Hamilton Grand – once the Grand Hotel and then student rooms – is now a collection of serviced apartments – a two-bedroomed apartment is currently under offer at £4.1m. At the other end of the price range, the cheapest property on current listings (at the time of writing) is a one-bed ground floor flat at £175,000.
Estate agent and lawyers, Rollos (rollos.co.uk/property/) is a key player in St Andrews’ property market and partner, Bob Inch, explains the last couple of years have been “particularly buoyant” for the sector, adding: “Throughout this period, prices well in excess of the surveyors’ valuation became the norm – many would-be buyers being unsuccessful at closing dates as prices continued to soar.”
Bob reveals there have been high numbers of overseas purchasers – mainly cash purchases that are only marginally affected by interest rate fluctuations. He explains: “Predominantly, these have been in and around the town centre, for investment and holiday purposes as well as to create homes for their children while at university.”
If you are a golfer living permanently within the St Andrews postcode area, you’re entitled to apply for what is known as a Links Ticket. If successful, this gives you access to the most extraordinary collection of links golf courses anywhere in the world – including the Old Course.
Beyond the world-renowned golf and university, St Andrews has much to offer. It is on stunning coastline – served by a 117-mile-long Fife Coastal Path – and surrounded by rolling hills where some families have worked the same land for generations. As a result, provenance is king: world-class soft fruits, mob-grazed livestock, local cheeses, artisan bakeries, craft breweries and whisky distilleries are all a must for food and drink lovers.
The town has a small cinema and theatre – the latter, part of the university that also delivers an active programme of events, many of which are open to residents. The sheer numbers of students and visitors has meant some of the independent charm has been lost on St Andrews ‘high street’, yet there are some real gems – most notably Toppings Book Shop, J. Mellis Cheese Shop and Auchterlonies, one of the oldest family-owned golf shops in town.
A 20-minute drive away is Dundee, home to the only V&A museum outside London. An hour’s train ride – from the nearest station at Leuchars – is Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh, the world’s festival city, including the iconic Fringe in August.
St Andrews is just under six miles from the nearest train station (Leuchars), served by a very good bus service and plenty of local taxi firms. Flying in? There are 11 Logan Air flights a week from London’s City Airport to Dundee – a half hour’s transfer. There are many more operator flights into Edinburgh Airport and that is around a 75-minute transfer. Driving? The town is served by the A91, A915 and A917.
Madras College (madras.fife.sch.uk/) is St Andrews’ six-year comprehensive secondary school with just over 1,300 pupils. The newly opened campus is co-educational, non-denominational and is ranked 31st out of Scotland’s 300+ state-run secondary schools in The Times 2022 league table.
The long-established private school – St Leonards (stleonards-fife.org/) – can trace its roots back more than 500 years. The first International Baccalaureate (IB) continuum school in Scotland, it offers boarding and day education for boys and girls aged 5-18 and was recently named ‘Independent School of the Year for International Student Experience’.
Slightly further afield are other independent schools including Dundee High School, a co-educational day school for five-18 years olds that was founded in 1239.
TRY BEFORE YOU BUY…
There’s a wealth of great holiday accommodation on the doorstep enabling you to visit to explore …
Five-star stop-over? The Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort and Spa is open year-round and boasts a fantastic location alongside the Old Course with views across West Sands beach. Eight dining outlets including two pubs, an award-winning spa and fitness centre as well as their own Championship golf course.
Self-catering? St Andrews Country Lodges are on a working farm overlooking St Andrews and the coastline. Each lodge sleeps six in real comfort and they provide a great base from which to house hunt and to discover all that this corner of Scotland has to offer.
WHAT YOU CAN GET FOR YOUR MONEY?
Here are some of our favourite St Andrews properties for sale:
QUIET LOCATION (offers over £410,000)
This is a well presented, detached, villa located in a quiet road. On the ground level there is a bright lounge, conservatory and dining kitchen. Upstairs offers three bedrooms and a family bathroom. rollos.co.uk
CLOSE TO THE COURSE (offers over £1,100,000)
Just yards from the Old Course first tee and18th green, this is a superb, fully remodelled three-bedroom apartment with roof balcony. It offers outstanding contemporary living space over two floors, approximately 1,242 sq ft. rettiebrochures.co.uk
STUNNING APARTMENT (offers over £485,000)
This stunning contemporary first floor apartment forms part of a three-storey building in a conservation area, which has garaging/stores at ground level. All on one level, the accommodation comprises an open plan living/dining/kitchen, two bedrooms, one ensuite and a Jack & Jill shower room.rollos.co.uk
SOUGHT AFTER AREA (offers over £650,000)
This spacious, well-presented, detached villa with double garage enjoys an excellent position in a popular and sought after area. The property offers two reception rooms, five bedrooms, study, kitchen and utility and three bathrooms, as well as gardens, double garage and driveway. rollos.co.uk
To discover more coastal areas, check out our ranking of affordable seaside locations to move to here.