Property Hot Shot: Oban and the Hebrides ; Just 90 Miles from Glasgow Is a Pretty, Buoyant Port Offering a Taste of Island Life, Says ROBERT LIEBMAN
Liebman, Robert, The Independent (London, England)
The Inner Hebrides is a good place to get away from it all, and the Outer Hebrides is even better. But for those who don't want to be a boat-ride away from cinemas and pizzerias, the best compromise in the Western Isles is Oban, on the mainland.
Located on the Firth of Lorn 90 miles from Glasgow, and protected from the sea by Kerrera Island, this town of 8,500 bursts at the seams during the summer. The area abounds in castles, golf courses, watersports facilities, nature reserves and family-orientated attractions. Adding to the surging tide of tourists are religious pilgrims visiting Iona on the south-west edge of the Isle of Mull, and sailors using Oban as an anchorage.
The local property market is underpinned by holiday cottages and second homes. Properties change hands regularly and reliably, and many recent sales have achieved more than the asking prices. Most of the area's estate agents list their offerings in a free monthly property guide, but you have to move fast - September's quality properties were sold well before the month was out.
"Properties here offer good value for money, especially compared with Edinburgh, and considering that it's now possible to work remotely," says Finlay Clark of Bidwells estate agents.
"Oban has supermarkets and is generally well-serviced, because Mull and other islands also depend on it," Clark says. "The smaller holiday cottages and homes have been attracting buyers from Glasgow and Edinburgh but they are coming from farther afield as well - the larger sporting estates have also been attracting European buyers."
Property prosperity elsewhere is pushing up prices in Oban. "There is no question that there has been a knock-on effect in all of Scotland from the boom in prices in Edinburgh, which is now on a par with London. Most of our buyers are from Glasgow, which is closer and has also been enjoying rising property values."
Oban also has a pool of locally employed renters and home buyers. "We no longer have a fishing industry, but there are plenty of employment opportunities in tourism, fish farms, large utilities and other businesses," Clark says. "The supply of rental properties available for local workers is limited, however, because landlords withhold their properties for the more lucrative holiday trade."
Clark believes that the attractive investment returns will continue to attract buyers. "A two- or three-bedroom holiday cottage of reasonable quality costs about pounds 150,000 and will yield eight to 10 per cent annually. Capital growth at the moment is between six and 10 per cent per year, probably closer to six."
Trains link Oban with Glasgow, and ferries serve Mull, Lismore, Kerrera, Barra, South Uist, Colonsay, Coll and …
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Publication information: Article title: Property Hot Shot: Oban and the Hebrides ; Just 90 Miles from Glasgow Is a Pretty, Buoyant Port Offering a Taste of Island Life, Says ROBERT LIEBMAN. Contributors: Liebman, Robert - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: October 16, 2002. Page number: 7. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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