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A newspaper could not have a more beautiful patch than Scotland’s Highlands and Islands.
Once it was known only to a lucky few, but now much of the country has discovered it too, and, understandably, would like to enjoy it. This boom brings gains and losses.
Every week, our papers feature stories about the shortage of housing and how this impacts on people living and working here.
We all know the causes: remote working, post-Covid rural idylls and more holiday lets.
A lack of supply and rising demand have driven house prices up sharply.
In the past 20 years, the average house price in Argyll has surged from £84,084 to £199,179 – a rise of 137 per cent. In the Highlands, it climbed from £80,625 to £210,958, up 162 per cent. In the Western Isles, it rocketed from £52,359 to £160,941, up 207 per cent.
Young people, the future of these communities, are unable to find somewhere affordable to live.
We hope they may be relieved to see so many plans for new houses springing up, with more undoubtedly in the pipeline.
Each will have their objectors and supporters. But their direction, to let more people enjoy one of the best places to live and work, must be welcomed by most.
We learn also Oban hospital is ‘massively understaffed’ and NHS Highlands hopes ‘more innovative’ recruitment campaigns can fill those gaps. May the wind fill its sails.