Registers of Scotland releases updated country of origin data

Published: 28 August 2018

Registers of Scotland (RoS) releases its updated land and property titles in Scotland by country of origin publication.

This publication accompanies the update of the overseas company report – a dataset containing information about all properties owned or leased in Scotland by overseas companies – and presents statistics on the country of origin of purchasers in Scotland.

The statistics are based on identifiable titles on the land register of Scotland, as at 30 June 2018, where the registered legal owner (or the tenant under a long term commercial lease) has provided an address outside of Scotland at the time of the registration of the purchase.

RoS business development and information director Kenny Crawford said: “This is the second publication in our titles by country of origin series. Our first publication was well received and was a welcome addition to our data provision, enabling access to this type of information from RoS for the first time. As this report continues to evolve and develop, we will be better placed to identify emerging trends. We look forward to supporting wider analysis in this area in future.”

Of the 1.54 million titles registered on the Land Register as at 30th June 2018, whether residential or non-residential, 7.0% (108,621 titles) related to titles for which one or more of the registered owners (buyers or tenants) had an identifiable address outside Scotland. This represents almost no change (an increase of 0.1 percentage points) to the previously released figures in the previous publication, which contained data as at 31 December 2017.

The breakdown of these owner/tenant addresses, as at time of registration, and a comparison to the previous figures for December 2017 are shown below:

  • 5.3% (81,852 titles) were in England (an increase of 0.1 percentage points)
  • 0.2% (2,714 titles) were in Wales (no change)
  • 0.5% (8,325 titles) were in Northern Ireland (no change)
  • 1.0 per cent (15, 730 titles) were overseas (no change)

With respect to the 15,730 titles in Scotland for which one or more of the registered buyers or tenants had an identifiable address outside of the UK at the time of purchase (including UK overseas territories), 83.5 per cent of the proprietors were individuals, 11.6 per cent were overseas companies, 4.6 per cent were other legal entities, such as partnerships and trusts, and 0.3 per cent were mixed ownership between companies, other legal entities and individuals, as demonstrated in the chart below. These proportions remain largely unchanged when compared to the figures in December 2017.

Chart 1: Percentage of Land Register titles with owner/tenant addresses outwith the UK, by proprietor type

Percentage of Land Register titles with owner/tenant addresses outwith the UK, by proprietor type

Registered buyers and tenants originate from 153 countries around the world. The top 10 countries by the origin of the purchaser/tenant are shown in the Table 1 below. As was the case in December 2017, more companies purchasing or leasing in Scotland came from Jersey than anywhere else, while USA was the most common country for individuals. The order by volume of the other countries remains largely unchanged when compared with December 2017, with only minor shifts in position.

More than half (53.6%) of all titles owned or leased by companies from outwith the UK were accounted for by 4 countries: Jersey, Isle of Man, British Virgin Islands and Guernsey.

Table 1: Land Register titles with owner/tenant addresses outwith the UK by volume

Land Register titles with owner/tenant addresses outwith the UK by volume

Of the 15,730 titles in Scotland for which one or more of the registered buyers or tenants had an address outside of the UK at the time of purchase, 83.6 per cent, or 13,139 titles, related to ownership while the remaining 16.4 per cent, or 2,579 titles, related to tenancy under long-term commercial leases. These proportions are largely unchanged since December 2017.

With regard to the absolute number of titles, Renfrewshire is the most popular area of Scotland for purchasers/tenants from abroad to buy or lease, equating to almost one in five titles or 18.0 per cent of the overseas title holdings. However, it is thought that some of these holdings may relate to very small parcels of land such as parking spaces and storage facilities near to Glasgow airport, although further research would be required to establish further details on this. A large proportion (83.1 per cent) of the Renfrewshire titles relate to commercial leases. The next most popular areas are Fife (7.8 per cent of the holdings), the City of Edinburgh (6.9 per cent), Highland (6.4 per cent) and Glasgow City (5.5 per cent).

View and download the full land and property titles in Scotland by country of origin, as at 30 June 2018, statistical report and further information about the overseas company report, what it contains and what it costs are available in our information sheet.


Notes to editors

  1. For further information, please telephone Jacq Kelly on 07825 388 120 or email, or contact us at: Communications, Registers of Scotland, Meadowbank House, 153 London Road, Edinburgh, EH8 7AU.
  2. The Keeper of the Registers of Scotland, Jennifer Henderson, is available for interview.
  3. Registers of Scotland (RoS) is the government department responsible for compiling and maintaining registers relating to property and other legal documents in Scotland. RoS records and safeguards the rights of the individual while providing open access to information on the registers.
  4. RoS began compiling quarterly statistics on the housing market with the completion of the extension of the Land Register to all counties in Scotland in April 2003. RoS also contributes to the UK House Price Index, in partnership with the Office of National Statistics, HM Land Registry and Land & Property Services Northern Ireland.
  5. The most recent RoS property market report was published in June 2018, detailing trends in the land and property market since 2007-08.
  6. The statistics have been produced in accordance with the Code of Practice for official statistics.
  7. The overseas company report and the statistical release will be updated on a 6-monthly basis.
  8. Follow us on Twitter @RegistersOfScotFacebook and LinkedIn.
  9. Sign up for our mailing list.


  1. The report does not include titles in the Sasines Register.
  2. There were a total of 1.78 million titles registered on the Land Register as at 30th June 2018. Of these, 1.54 million titles represent properties with an identifiable proprietor address. The two most significant reasons for not having an identifiable address occur when: ownership/tenancy is by a public body and no designation address is required; and when the supplied address does not include an entry in any of the town/county/country fields to enable the identification of a geographic location.
  3. Previously published figures as at 31 December 2017 have since been revised due to a minor data processing error that was identified – further information on this is available in the current publication.
  4. Other legal entities include partnerships, trusts and trustees, or mixed ownership/tenancy between companies, individuals and/or partnerships/trusts.
  5. A small proportion of titles will have been associated with more than one country where title is shared by more than one owner/tenant with addresses in different overseas countries. In these cases, only the first address detailed on the title has been used in these statistics.

Media contact

Jacq Kelly
Press and public affairs manager
07825 388 120