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13 August 2014, 08:07
Annual house price growth in Scotland has hit a four-year high, outpacing most areas of the UK, according to a new report.
The average cost of a home in June was £164,105 - a 5.7% rise on the price for the same month in the previous year.
There was also a 15% increase in the number of property transactions compared to May, with sales 26% above those in June 2013.
However, experts said activity was driven by a "tale of two cities'' as a quarter of all house sales were in Edinburgh and Glasgow.
The capital was also the most expensive place to buy a property, with a monthly rise in prices of 4.2% taking the average cost to £239,659 while a house in Glasgow cost £130,872 after a 4.5% increase.
The survey of house prices in the 32 local authority areas contained in the house price index from LSL Property Services and Acadata also revealed some areas saw costs drop in June.
A fall in prices was recorded in areas including East Renfrewshire, Fife and Dundee, the latest data showed.
Gordon Fowlis, regional managing director of Your Move, an estate agency chain that is part of LSL, said the average price rise was the biggest since September 2010.
"This is stronger than the annual rises in the north of England, the Midlands and Wales. While the majority of regions across England and Wales are witnessing price falls, the Scottish market is moving the other way,'' he said.
"In Aberdeenshire, prices climbed to a new high of £228,802 last month. Overall, average house prices in Scotland are now only 0.9% below their May 2008 peak, and this gap is narrowing. Many households are feeling the weight lift off their shoulders, as consumer confidence in the economic recovery mounts.''
He added: "The Scottish housing market may appear sturdy, but there are many changes on the horizon to weather. The annual growth we're experiencing currently is still only a third of the 16.0% pace recorded in August 2007 before the financial crisis.
"In June, average property prices dipped in half of all the local authority areas across Scotland, as the market attunes to calmer growth. It may be on the track, but the housing recovery still requires careful steering to navigate upcoming obstacles and to ensure that the benefits are felt equally across the country.''