Edinburgh’s Temptaion For Property Investors


The UK’s second financial centre and a city renowned for its iconic architecture and prestigious arts festival – Edinburgh has much to tempt property investors. James Matthews pays a visit

Already wielding new tax raising powers and with the eagerly anticipated referendum on Scottish independence this coming autumn – changes are foot for Scotland’s bonnie capital. Whatever the political outcome may be, the city will still have plenty to crow about – a stalwart property market for one. Boasting 13 of the 20 most expensive streets in Scotland, Dick Place in the prestigious Grange area ranks the most expensive, with an average house price of £1.68 million – nearby hoi polloi Merchiston where JK Rowling’s 19th century stone-built manor home recently sold for over £2.5m sashaying not far behind.

The city is often described as ‘one of the best places to live in the UK’; a not unsurprising accolade comments Gordon Hamilton of Hunters Residential given the plethora of museums, galleries, designer boutiques and eateries, and, of course, the Fringe Festival for residents to enjoy. “Edinburgh not only has the second highest concentration of listed buildings in the UK and many beautiful residences, more recently we’ve also been seeing a trend for bespoke townhouse conversions, a healthy growth spurt fed by demand from young professionals and buy-to-let investors.”

Latest figures from Edinburgh Property Solicitors body ESPC reveal that buyer activity in the mid to premium range home markets has continued to rise. In the three months to March the number of properties sold across Edinburgh, the Lothians and Fife rose by 42.5% annually. The number of homes coming onto the market also increased, but at the more modest annual rate of 14.9%.



Commenting on the results, David Marshall, business analyst with ESPC says: “Despite the rise in the number of homes selling, in the majority of cases buyers are still enjoying some success when it comes to negotiating on price with sellers. In Edinburgh, 58.6% of properties sold over the last quarter were secured for less than their original Home Report valuation which is good for market liquidity.”

In terms of property location, the city is perhaps best viewed as a collective of self-contained communities, each with its own distinct feel. Adds Hamilton: “Though many of these ‘Edinburgh Villages’ are clustered around the bustling city centre, it’s worthwhile doing your research on foot as districts can vary hugely even just a street apart. Some are relaxed and tranquil, while others are surprisingly quirky and bohemian.”

So where are some of the best places for buyers keen to be part of the action?

City Centre
Boasting a healthy sprinkling of period properties, close proximity to the financial district, universities, flagship stores and key transport routes mean a home in the city centre will always perform well from an investment perspective. A popular location for buy-to-let pied a terres, the high volume of students and professionals in town also means rental occupancy is extremely high. Three bed properties can command up to £1350 per month. A classic example in the heart of the West End on the books with agents Rettie is the stunning two-bedroom Mews House ‘Tully Side’ with private courtyard garden. Remodelled by its current owners the property has an asking price of £325,000.

An affluent district to the south close to Princes Street, Marchmont was originally developed as a planned middle-class tenement suburb back in the 19th century. Today property listings embrace a vintage blend of Victorian and Edwardian characterised by tall ceilings, spacious rooms with period features including original fireplaces, cornicing and wooden floors. Renovated traditional three-bedroom flats in the old-school genre can be picked up for £290,000. Complementing the classic architecture the area also boasts a cosy community mix of cafes, quirky boutiques and eateries as well as excellent shopping facilities and good transport links.

Leafy streets and grand architecture make Bruntsfield one of the most desirable addresses with the equally appealing Morningside, Merchiston and Church Hill areas just a few minutes’ walk away. Expansive greens such as the Meadows and The Links are in abundance, whilst the city centre is a mere 15 minute walk and the city bypass just ten minutes by car. Potential for rental income is also excellent with three bedroom properties renting for up to £1400 per month. “The housing staple is primarily high-quality Victorian tenements, interspersed with large and impressive early twentieth-century villas,” explains Robin Davie of Blair Cadell. “That said, we’ve seen a recent development shift with sub-division of villas and new build apartment projects in what would have been large gardens. Studio units can be picked up for around £100,000.”

Dean Village
Dean Village (meaning ‘deep valley’) sits serenely beneath Thomas Telford’s iconic four-arched Dean Bridge. This Conservation Area meshes quirky old and trendy new architecture, including restored worker’s cottages, and converted warehouses and mill buildings. Many of the buildings overlook the gurgling waterfalls and wooded splendour of the Water of Leith, with its winding pathways. For culture vultures, the National Gallery of Modern Art and the Dean Gallery are close by. Simpson and Marwick are marketing a beautiful three-bedroom apartment within the exclusive residential development Bells Mills adjacent to the Water of Leith. Sporting a high spec interior design, the property has an asking price of £390,000.

A lively, bohemian district about 15 minutes’ walk from the Royal Mile, Newington’s main thoroughfare is bursting with commercial life with a variety of mixed use developments sporting retail businesses, cafes and offices on the ground floor of contemporary residential tenements. Head out to the neighbourhood’s fringes however and the streets become wider and leafier, many avenues lined by elegant Georgian mansions. “For accessibility to town, as well as the lush meadows area and Arthur’s Seat, Newington is hard to beat,” says Lyndsey Beckwith of Pagan Osborne. On the market with the agency is ‘Muirton House’ a tastefully renovated four-bedroom stone-built Victorian villa. Set in matured landscaped gardens with a private drive, the property has an asking price of £895,000.

Edinburgh Essentials

  • Scotland’s capital has a population of 486,000 but during the month of August figures double with all the fun of the festival.
  • 75% of buildings in the city centre are listed.
  • Over one million people visit the castle every single year. It’s the most popular tourist attraction in Scotland.
  • Over 100,000 people cram in to Princes Street for the Hogmanay street party every year.

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