Scotland's property market has defied the economic downturn with values rising £180 a week this year, according to analysis of more than a million homes.
Prices across the country have soared by 4.9 per cent or £7,237 since the beginning of 2011 – almost double the UK rate of growth.
The figures fly in the face of doom-mongers who have decried the health of the property market with dire warnings of plummeting prices.
Experts said the turmoil afflicting the stock markets is forcing investors to turn to property as a safer haven for their money.
A shortage of new homes being built also means homeowners are enjoying a mini-boom.
Scotland saw rises of £720 a month – the biggest in the UK – taking the average property price to £155,581. Samantha Baden, analyst at FindaProperty, which undertook the research, said: “Asking prices in Scotland rose at a very healthy pace so far this year, although property here still remains well below the UK average.
This is great news for buyers and sellers in Scotland as this kind of growth is exactly what the market needs to really get things moving.”
Over the same period prices across the UK have increased by 1.7 per cent or £3,667. Asking prices in the West Midlands are up 2.9 per cent, in the North-east of England 2.6 per cent and 2.3 per cent in London, according to the website’s latest House Price and Affordability Index.
Homeowners in the South-west saw a 1.9 per cent rise, Yorks & Humber recorded a 1.5 per cent increase while in the North-west of England values were up 1.4 per cent.
Wales was the only area of the country where asking prices have fallen and properties there are now 0.4 per cent cheaper.
Ms Baden added: “The rise in house prices shows confidence in the property market remains steady as a result of homeowners realising the old adage is true: in times of trouble invest in bricks and mortar. Despite economic tough times, property has proven solid investment.”
Neil Harrison, of the Edinburgh Solicitors Property Centre, said: “Though the asking prices may be higher, there are a lot more houses on the market in Scotland at the moment than buyers. This makes it a buyers’ market. So the advice to people trying to buy a house would be always to negotiate.
“But of course, the bigger problem is still the difficulties first time buyers are experiencing in getting together a deposit.” Miles Shipside, director of Rightmove, also warned first-time buyers to move fast and complete their deal before the stamp duty bill rises in March.
“Agents report that one of the reasons why the market lacks momentum is that prospective buyers do not feel any urgency to make an offer and conclude a purchase.
“However, prospective buyers looking to move before the festive season should note the short timescales involved.”