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Last Updated: Friday, 14 September 2007, 11:55 GMT 12:55 UK
Boom town facts about Inverness
By Steven McKenzie
Highlands and Islands reporter
BBC Scotland news website

Kessock Bridge, Inverness. Picture by Iain Maclean
The future's bright? Sunlight strikes the Kessock Bridge at Inverness. Picture by Iain Maclean

Inverness has frequently been dubbed the fastest growing city in the UK.

A series of reports has revealed that house prices in the Highland capital and its surrounding area have soared above the Scottish average.

Also, that it offers big city living at affordable prices.

So what makes Inverness tick?

HOUSE PRICES

For sale sign

Like other areas of the Highlands, Inverness has seen a significant increase in house prices.

For Highland as a whole the median price for a previously owned house by 2006 was 136,000 - an increase of 33,000.

The Scottish figure was 114,000, a 24,000 increase.

Two of the most expensive areas for houses are Inverness Ness-side and Inverness South where median prices are about 140,000 and 160,000.

EMPLOYMENT

SNH headquarters in Inverness

Public administration, education and health is the most dominant area employing 32.9% of Inverness and East Highland's total workforce.

Many of the key employers are based in the city, such as Raigmore Hospital and the headquarters of Highland Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Scottish Natural Heritage.

The headquarters for SNH moved from Edinburgh to the Highlands in a Scottish Executive initiative to spread government jobs out of the Scottish capital.

Distribution, hotels and restaurants is the next largest sector employing 26.9%. Construction accounts for 7.1%.

WORKFORCE AND POPULATION

Nurse. Picture by Corbis

Women dominate the public administration, education and health sector. More than 45% of the city's female workforce work in this area.

There is also a higher proportion of women than men working in hotels and restaurants.

In 2005, the population of the city and East Highland was 137,648 - an increase of 3.1% since 2001.

However, concerns have been expressed about the numbers of young people leaving the area.

MIGRANT WORKERS

Stars and stripes reflected in a window

Between April 2001 and March 2006, 5,505 overseas workers moved to the Highlands - 2,284 to Inverness, the most popular destination.

Many are from new EU member states in Eastern Europe and Poles make up one of the largest groups.

Other research on the top 10 nationalities of workers granted work permits between 2002/03 to 2005/06 showed Filipinos first with 281 applicants followed by Americans with 203.

Work permits have also been granted to South Africans and Bulgarians as well as workers from India, Russia and China.

MIGRANTS' OCCUPATIONS

Violinists

Studies of the occupation of migrant workers coming to the city to find employment also throw up some interesting detail.

Of those granted work permits from 2002/03-2005/06, 439 were nurses and 397 were other health professionals.

The third most prominent occupation was hotel and catering staff, followed by 153 musicians.

It was thought that many of the musicians had sought permits to perform at events.

Sources: Highland Council and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.


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