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House prices soar

A BOOMING economy and a continuing shortage of housing are among the factors believed to have sparked a more than doubling of the average house price in Shetland over the past decade.

New research from the Bank of Scotland shows the price has risen by 104 per cent to £153,782 – vastly outstripping a 22 per cent increase across the UK as a whole.

In other parts of the country where house prices have risen significantly, it has been linked to falling unemployment – but the number of people out of work in Shetland has remained consistently low.

Despite the efforts of Hjaltland Housing and Shetland Islands Council, the islands remain short of homes with a waiting list of around 1,000 people seeking social housing.

The influx of construction workers to build Total’s £800 million gas plant is also thought to have pushed up demand and helped inflate house prices in the past two or three years.

Bank of Scotland housing economist Nitesh Patel pointed to the “considerable amount of economic growth” created by the oil and gas industry in the past decade.

Patel added that access to mortgages, the extent of affordable housing, changes in earnings and the difference between housing supply and demand were other factors influencing prices.