If this year’s British Open left you longing to own property in St. Andrews, welcome to the club: In no other provincial town in the British Isles does real estate demand outstrip supply as it does in the Auld Grey Toon (pop. 16,680).
“It’s a mile ahead of anywhere else its size,” says Jamie Macnab, a director at Savills, which brokers most of the high-end deals in town. And it’s particularly appealing to foreigners. Fully half of the luxury dwellings that overlook the Old Course go to overseas buyers, Macnab says.
For golfers, the local attractions are obvious, from the seven courses run by the St. Andrews Links Trust, to Kingsbarns, the Duke’s and a pair of sporty offerings at Crail. Full-time residents are eligible for the venerated “links ticket,” which for $630 annually grants access to all the St. Andrews tracks. In the summer, when there’s daylight until 10 p.m., the courses (and town) bustle with tourists. In the quieter off-season, you can zip around the windblown links, albeit in Gore-Tex and a wool cap, in three hours flat. Another 18, anyone?
“Buy a place here and chances are your investment will strengthen,” Macnab says. “At any rate, I guarantee your game will improve.”
1. Hamilton Grand Luxury Apartments—$1,900,000 to $11,500,000
In 2009, Herb Kohler bought this iconic redbrick building (formerly a hotel and later a St. Andrews University residence hall) overlooking the Old Course’s 18th hole. After a spectacular refurbishing, it now features 26 upscale apartments (2-, 3- and 4-BRs) and a seventh-floor deck with singular views. If you were any closer to the course, you’d need a caddie. savills.co.uk, +44 (0)131 247 3711
2. Townhouse Hotel—$1,500,000
Fancy your own B&B? This 9-BR property in the town’s hotel district has distinct owners’ quarters (for you and the family) and several guest rooms. Disclaimer: You’ll want to learn how to prepare a full Scottish breakfast. clarksonhamilton.co.uk, +44 (0)159 226 8608
3. Budget Bungalow—$305,000
Not all St. Andrews real estate approaches (or tops) seven figures. This practical, ready-to-live-in 1970s bungalow makes a great crash pad, and there are more like it available. It’s been updated inside and attractively appointed, with gardens in the front and back. And it’s just a 15-minute stroll from the first tee of the Old Course. rollos.co.uk, +44 (0)133 465 4081
4. Art Deco Family Home—$800,000
This semidetached whitewashed villa at 83 Hepburn Gardens has five bedrooms, stripped wooden floors and original features. It was designed in the Art Deco style—its distinct architectural similarities to the 1935 Royal Birkdale clubhouse are immediately obvious. Bonus points for its gardens, garage and peaceful location in the St. Andrews ’burbs. paganosborne.com, +44 (0)133 486 2898
5. Panoramic Top-Floor Duplex—$1,400,000
It needs a little TLC, but this venerable 3-BR apartment above the Old Course’s 18th fairway serves up priceless views of the linksland and the coast. A roof terrace could be added, subject to permitting approvals, and the attic rooms could be converted into more living space. Good luck managing endless calls from your pals when the Open comes to town. savills.co.uk, +44 (0)131 247 3706