The country's private rental sector is in the grip of an "unprecedented squeeze", property experts have warned, while prices for home buyers have increase by more than 20 per cent since the start of the pandemic.

The latest quarterly report from letting portal Citylets found that demand is outstripping supply across Scotland, sending rental prices to record levels. Average monthly rental costs rose by 5.2% in the final three months of last year to £869.

The figures also show that available properties were being snapped up at record speeds, with 40% of properties let within one week and 83% taking less than a month to be let. The number of available properties advertised was down by two-thirds in the same period three years earlier.

Thomas Ashdown, managing director of Citylets, said it is feared that many landlords are planning to sell up while market is buoyant to avoid a wave of greater regulation expected in the market. That will further constrict the supply of available homes.


Meanwhile, an analysis of the latest data by DJ Alexander shows that average home prices across Scotland rose by 21.3% between March 2020 and November 2021. This compares with an average price increase in Wales of 19.6%; in the UK by 16.3%; and 15.6% in England.

The greatest increase in Scotland occurred in Inverclyde which saw average prices increase by 29.7%, followed by Argyll at 28.7%, South Ayrshire at 25.5%, East Ayrshire 25.3%, and South Lanarkshire 24.8%.

The lowest increases were in Aberdeen which rose by 5.8%, Aberdeenshire at 7.9%, Edinburgh at 15.4%, East Renfrewshire 15.6%, and Angus at 16.0%.


Edinburgh oil firm makes progress in Egypt and North Sea


Shares in the former Cairn Energy have surged seven per cent following signs the company’s move into Egypt is paying off, as it shows faith in the potential of the North Sea amid the gas price surge.

The Edinburgh-based firm, which is now called Capricorn Energy, noted it is generating significant profits in Egypt and is moving fast to assess the potential of North Sea exploration acreage that it bought into last year.


New take on safety gives Kite a green boost


Edinburgh site safety specialist Kite Group has launched a new handrail safety system that it says will have significant cost and environmental benefits.

ModiFix – described as the “first major innovation” in its field in 90 years – uses laser precision cutting that allows handrails to be assembled without the need for clamps or welding. Doing away with this reduces the amount of steel required, lowering costs by up to 20 per cent.