House Hunting in … Aberdeen, Scotland

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The four bedrooms, one of which is currently used as a study, are on the third floor. Three of them share a bathroom; the master bedroom has an en-suite bath.

The home includes a private half-acre backyard and a two-car garage, and shares a central courtyard garden with another unit.

The castle is about two miles from the town of Stonehaven, a popular tourist destination known for its fire ball parade, where residents march through the streets on New Year’s Eve, swinging flaming wire cages on chains. The town is also home to Dunnottar Castle, a clifftop fortress, as well as shops and restaurants. The Aberdeen International Airport is about a 30-minute drive away.

MARKET OVERVIEW

When the international oil and gas industry declined near the end of 2014, it had a dramatic effect on Aberdeen’s economy, which is heavily dependent on the energy sector, agents said. Sales plummeted and prices of most homes dropped at least 20 percent, said Robin Leith, a partner of Andersonbain, a real estate company in Scotland.

Before 2014, sales had been robust and prices were rising 10 to 30 percent a year, agents said. There was often competition for homes, which sometimes sold for 10 to 15 percent over the asking price, Mr. Leith said. “Now there are more sellers than buyers,” he added, “and prices are typically between 5 percent and 15 percent lower than valuations.”

But last year, the market began to show signs of bottoming out, agents said, and in the second quarter of 2o17, there were 1,451 home sales in the Aberdeen area, a 14.3 percent increase compared to a year earlier, according to the Aberdeen Solicitors Property Centre, a local group that tracks the market. Even so, prices were down 4.2 percent in the same period, compared to a year earlier, according to the group’s index.

Homes in the center of the city that are priced below £300,000 (or about $395,500) are the most in demand, Mr. Leith said: “As prices have fallen, more people have opted to stay central and avoid a commute, when they can now buy an appropriately sized property closer to work.”

The higher end of the market is “where activity is most subdued,” said Robert Davidson, a partner in Peterkins, a Scottish law firm. “The number of people in the area on larger salaries, most of which were paid to those employed in the oil and gas sector, have fallen significantly.”

Apartments and smaller houses around Aberdeen’s large universities are the properties most likely to sell, Mr. Davidson said. “Flats can be attractive to parents looking for accommodation for their children while at university, coupled with an opportunity for investment,” he said. “It is also a good time for first-time buyers to purchase, so cheaper properties are where most of the activity in the market is.”

WHO BUYS IN ABERDEEN

Most buyers are Scottish citizens taking advantage of the low prices to buy a home for the first time or to trade up to a bigger one, agents said. “There are virtually no vacation-home transactions, and very few investors active at the moment,” Mr. Leith said.

International buyers have virtually disappeared from the market since the decline of the energy sector, agents said. Many were oil and gas industry employees, Mr. Davidson said, most of whom have left the area.

BUYING BASICS

Buyers typically hire a lawyer to handle the property transaction, research the title and help process the mortgage, if necessary. The process has been simplified over the years, Mr. Leith said, but buyers must “be sure that all finance is in place pretty much at the outset, so that they can come up with the cash on the appointed day.”

There are no restrictions on foreigners buying property in Scotland, and mortgages are widely available to qualified buyers, including foreigners.

WEBSITES

Aberdeen tourism site: visitabdn.com

Government price statistics: ros.gov.uk/property-data/property-statistics

LANGUAGES AND CURRENCIES

English, Gaelic, Scots; pound sterling (1 pound = $1.32)

TAXES AND FEES

Lawyers’ fees are typically between £800 (about $1,055) and £2,000 ($2,636), Mr. Leith said. Buyers must also pay a land and buildings transaction tax of between 2 and 12 percent for a property that sells for more than £145,000 ($191,000), based on a sliding scale; an additional 3 percent tax is added if it is a second home.

For this property, there is an annual landscape maintenance fee of about £200 ($264) and another annual fee of £250 ($330) for driveway maintenance, Ms. Gormley said. The council tax — the local version of a property tax — is about £2,290 ($3,019) a year, she said.

CONTACT

Fiona Gormley, Savills Aberdeen, 011-44-1224-971-110; savills.co.uk/estate-agents/savills-Aberdeen.aspx

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