Are you dreaming of Island living after lockdown?
There can’t be many estate agents who regularly spot eagles, otters, seals, deer, basking sharks and porpoises on their way to work. But that’s just one of the perks of the job when you are based on Scotland’s stunning west coast.
After 14 years of managing high-end development projects in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) I decided to swap a fast-paced life in one of the Middle East’s most important economic powerhouses for something completely different.
I’m now extremely fortunate to manage Bell Ingram’s Oban office which is just a short ferry ride from my home on the Isle of Mull where extraordinary wildlife and scenery come as standard.
Working in this stunning part of the world is something I’ve appreciated more than ever since our Oban office is temporarily closed (in line with government guidance) and I’m currently working remotely from my home office preparing for the reopening of the housing market.
Island living has always held a powerful attraction for city dwellers looking for a change of pace, a sense of community and a chance to carve out their own patch of paradise. And I predict that the coronavirus crisis will increase the demand for more remote island properties.
Over the past few weeks, I have spoken to dozens of buyers keen to escape urban environments and in need of gardens and outside space. Then there are those whose workplace will change from office to home working and they are looking for properties with room for a dedicated workspace. I have heard too from people who have re-evaluated their relationship with their home and now want something different from it.
But, if you think that life on a Scottish island means enduring basic facilities and terrible weather, then it’s time to think again.
Modern islanders enjoy excellent primary and secondary schools, reliable public transport and state-of-the-art medical centres. World class music and arts festivals regularly attract international names, and thanks to our incredible natural larder there is a tempting range of dining, drinking and shopping opportunities which I’m hopeful will bounce back after the current crisis.
Earlier this year I saw a strong demand from buyers looking for commercial opportunities, as well as homes, along the west coast of Scotland, the west Highlands and the islands. Smaller islands like Coll and Tiree were particularly popular with people looking to sidestep the larger islands like Mull and Skye with their high number of summer visitors. This is a trend I predict will continue when the housing market re-opens for business.
And, if Coronavirus (and Brexit!) sees British holidaymakers swerving foreign destinations in favour of UK ‘staycations’ as expected, then there will be some exciting opportunities to develop tourism businesses, particularly good quality holiday accommodation which can be in short supply on many smaller islands.
*Bell Ingram is open for business, just not from the usual places and, in line with the latest UK and ScotGov instructions, our teams are working remotely. If you need to make a move safely and wisely please contact Andrew Fuller on 07717 203082 or email firstname.lastname@example.org