The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Saturday, 19 January 2008

Scottish house prices continue rising while those in UK fall

HOUSE PRICES in Scotland rose by 2.4% in the final quarter of 2007, compared with a 0.8% fall in prices across the UK as a whole.

The annual rate of house price inflation in Scotland at the end of last year was 13.1%, the strongest price rise in the UK and well above the UK average increase of 5.2%.

But Scottish housing continues to be the most affordable in the UK. The average price of a house in Scotland is currently £144,897. This is 26% less than the UK average of £197,071.

Cumnock in Ayrshire is the most affordable town in Scotland with an average house price of £111,269.

Bank of Scotland expects a slowdown in the Scottish housing market in 2008 and predict house price growth of 4%.

Bank of Scotland chief economist Martin Ellis commented: “The Scottish housing market is the best performing market in the UK. Scottish house price inflation is 13.1%, well above the UK average increase of 5.2%.

“A key factor driving the increase in house prices in Scotland has been its relative affordability. Scottish house prices continue to be the most affordable in the UK. At £144,897, the average price of a house in Scotland is 26% less than the UK average of £197,071.

“We expect a slowdown in the Scottish housing market in 2008 and predict house price growth of 4%. This would be the smallest rise in Scottish house prices in eight years.

“A large numbers of Scottish borrowers who took out fixed rate mortgages in 2005 and 2006 at very low rates will move onto higher rates as their mortgage term expires this year. Higher food and energy prices will also take up more of Scottish homeowners’ income, reducing the amount many householders have to spend on housing. These factors are likely to lead to slower house price growth in Scotland in 2008.”

The average price of a house in South Ayrshire is now £177,858 compared to £162,215 a year ago - a rise of 10%.

In North Ayrshire the average house price has risen 14% from £123,532 at the end of 2006 to £140,535 in December 2007.

The lowest rise was recorded in East Ayrshire, where the average house price has risen just 6% in the past year from £129,050 to £136,711.

Director of Donald Ross Estate Agents in Ayr Steven Miller (pictured above with his wife and fellow-director Jacqueline) commented: "2007 was a challenging market place. However, this latest survey shows the Ayrshire housing market to be extremely robust with strong growth compared to elsewhere in the UK.

"We feel that 2008 will be an excellent year whether you are buying or selling, albeit at a lower level of house price inflation compared with previous years. Overall we feel the medium-term forecast in the local market is reasonably stable with modest growth."

Donald Ross Estate Agents
11 Beresford Terrace
Ayr KA7 2ER

Contact: Steven Miller, Managing Director
Tel: 01292 288222
Fax: 01292 280083

Thursday, 17 January 2008

Scottish businesses are more confident than their UK counterparts

BUSINESS confidence may have been dented by the tougher conditions of recent months, but Scottish firms are facing 2008 with confidence, according to the Business in Britain survey from Lloyds TSB Commercial.

The report, based on the responses of more than 1,800 UK firms, shows that the balance of firms expecting improved, rather than worsening conditions over the next six months stands at 23 per cent in Scotland compared with 18 per cent UK-wide. Scottish businesses report stronger figures for confidence in future orders, sales and profits.

Scotland also reports strong turnover figures in the last six months, with 56 per cent of businesses reporting an increase, 27 per cent no change and 17 per cent a decrease. This compares with 47 per cent of UK businesses reporting an increase, 30 per cent no change and 21 per cent a fall.

The balance of firms which increased rather than reduced employee numbers in the last six months stands at 28 per cent for Scottish businesses compared with just 8 per cent of UK respondents. For the coming six months, the balance of those expecting to recruit stands at 17 per cent in Scotland and 8 per cent for the UK.

There is little evidence that businesses are feeling the pinch on their finances, with only 13 per cent of Scottish firms reporting strains on cash flow. This is the lowest figure reported by any of the regions in the UK, and lower than the national average of 21 per cent. Even the national average is still far below the peak reached during the 1990s recession, when 56 per cent of firms reported problems with cash flow.

Despite the tougher times ahead, firms are still optimistic about their scope for increasing prices, in the hope of countering falling sales. The balance of UK firms expecting to be able to raise prices has reached a 15 year high of 34 per cent - up from 23 per cent in the last survey. The figure for Scotland is higher still at 39 per cent. This could have implications for the Bank of England, which has to consider inflationary pressures when making interest rate decisions over the coming months.

Lloyds TSB Scotland corporate and commercial director Manus Fullerton said: “Across the board, Scottish businesses have presented stronger results than the UK average, suggesting they are in robust shape. There is no shortage of talk of difficult times ahead economically, but Scotland appears to be in confident mood – a mood echoed by the findings of our Scottish Business Monitor earlier this month.

“Businesses may well tighten their financial belts in the months ahead, but there is still little evidence of the gloom and doom gripping Scottish commerce.”

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Donald Kay offers a taste of Rabbie Burns over breakfast

By: Murdoch MacDonald

AYRSHIRE tourism businesses are working together to offer visitors a unique Rabbie Burns experience.

Ayr’s Burnside Guest House and Donald Kay of Walkabout wi’ Rabbie Tours have joined forces to offer visitors a taste of the national bard over a Burns Breakfast.

[Picture shows Donald Kay as Rabbie Burns with Liz Drysdale, owner of The Burnside Guest House.]

Donald Kay, in his guise as Rabbie Burns, will join guests of The Burnside at breakfast time to give a potted history of Burns’s short but eventful life and recite a selection of his poetry including “Tam O'Shanter”.

Guests of the four-star guest house will be treated to a feast of porridge with whisky and cream, a traditional full Scottish breakfast with haggis and black bread, followed by fruit, cheese and oatcakes.

They will then have the opportunity to join “Rabbie” on a visit around Burns country on his walk-about tour including a visit to Burns Cottage and Museum, Burns Memorial, Alloway Kirk and Brig o’ Doon which plays a vital role in his most famous Tam O’Shanter poem. Guests will also be given the opportunity to enjoy a session of whisky tasting.

The Burns Breakfast is supported by Scottish Enterprise Ayrshire which is encouraging businesses to collaborate to develop new Burns-related products.

Scottish Enterprise Ayrshire tourism team leader Lynne Pringle said: “Scottish Enterprise Ayrshire is supporting tourism businesses to ensure that they capitalise on the legacy of Burns through innovation and collaboration. Earlier this year, we held workshops to encourage businesses to work together to develop new Burns tourism products, and this is an excellent example of this in action.

“Tourism is a growing industry in Ayrshire, worth £330 million to the economy and we are committed to working with the sector to develop its skills, innovation, products and destinations.”

Liz Drysdale, owner of The Burnside Guest House, said: “You’ve heard of the Burns Supper, now visitors can enjoy the Burns Breakfast. Burnside Guest House offers this experience as a memorable way to be introduced to the works and wonder of our national bard, and the breakfast is informal, entertaining and suitable for all ages.

“I really want to provide people with an introduction to the life of Burns, to encourage them to visit Burns country, and to find out more about this remarkable person. The Burns breakfast is a novel idea, and seemed a fun way of doing just that. We can now offer this new and unique experience to visitors throughout the year.”

Donald Kay, who has been awarded Entrepreneur of the Year for Ayrshire, added: “The Burns Breakfast is an excellent way for tourists to spend some time with Rabbie in the land of Burns, and learn about his life and poetry. Working with The Burnside Guest House has increased the enjoyment of the Walkabout wi’ Rabbie Tours experience, and we hope to further develop our collaboration."

Donald Kay
Walk About Auld Ayr Town
116 Russell Drive
Ayr KA8 8JN

Telephone: 00 44 (0)1292 287765
Mobile 07867 510 165

For more information about Burns Breakfast at the Burnside CLICK HERE

About Scottish Enterprise

Scottish Enterprise is the main economic development agency for Scotland covering 93% of the population from Grampian to the Borders. The Scottish Enterprise Network consists of Scottish Enterprise and 12 Local Enterprise Companies. Working in partnership with the private and public sectors the Network aims to build more and better businesses, to develop the skills and knowledge of Scottish people, and to encourage innovation to make Scottish business internationally competitive. Further information on Scottish Enterprise is available at


Scottish Enterprise supports the Scottish tourist industry by helping businesses offer a world-class service to visitors. It offers a wide range of business development services in areas vital to the industry. These include e-business, skills development, collaboration, innovation and new product and service development. It is also involved in supporting the development of the tourism infrastructure through visitor attractions, countryside facilities and improvements in public areas such as town centres.