At Lettingweb, we see the number of people looking to move into Edinburgh grow every year, with students, professionals and families all flocking to Scotland’s capital. And it’s no wonder: at the end of 2013 the city was voted the second best place to live in the UK (beaten only by Bristol).
The popularity of the city is easy to understand, as it’s beautiful, historical and cultured (with the opportunity to experience the full Fringe in August a particular highlight). The large number of people looking for flats and comparative rarity of available property makes finding affordable accommodation often hard, though; the vast majority of property will be on the market for less than a month and rents are on the rise across the board.
It isn’t all doom and gloom though, and a bit of research will go a long way. So here’s our guide to 4 popular areas for renting in Edinburgh:
Edinburgh’s stunning architecture and dramatic landscape around the city centre is a remarkable sight, making for a beautiful area to live in. As a touristy town, much of the city centre is devoted to shops and restaurants (especially along George Street, Rose Street and Princes Street), but there is a fair selection of smaller property available.
Image: The view from a central flat, Edinburgh city centre, Scotland
That property won’t come cheap though, with flats in the centre of Edinburgh amongst the priciest in the city. A 1-bedroom apartment in the centre of town will cost £768 per month on average, the second highest 1-bed rent in the city. 2-bedroom flats don’t work out too much better, costing £870 per month on average, whilst the rarity of larger property in the area makes finding any problematic.
The scarcity of property in the area also makes for a highly competitive market – and flats in central Edinburgh tend to be available for only slightly longer than a fortnight before coming off the market. That means that those looking to live in the area will have to be alert to beat the competition.
Image: Edinburgh’s New Town by kaysgeog via Flickr
Located just north of Edinburgh city centre, the famous New Town is home a large amount of beautifully appointed Georgian terraces of all sizes (consisting of townhouses and townhouses converted into flats). It’s traditionally been home to the more affluent inhabitants of the city, a tradition which stands to this day – the average 2-bedroom property in the area costs a staggering £1025 per month.
The average property in the area costs £983, second only to the highly touristy Old Town, consisting of the Royal Mile and Edinburgh Castle. The larger townhouses in the New Town tend to be highly sought after, and cost a fair amount as well, with 3 and 4-bedroom property costing on average £1274 and £1718 respectively.
One silver lining for those searching in the New Town comes in the lower competition for property in the area, where flats tend to stay on the market for a little over three weeks.
Image: Spottiswoode Street, Marchmont, Edinburgh by yellow book via Flickr
Edinburgh has long been a city dominated by its Universities, with the University of Edinburgh, Napier University, Heriot-Watt University and Queen Margaret University bringing a huge student population into the city. The most popular district for students is around the Meadows, directly to the south of the city centre, in Marchmont and its surrounding areas.
Despite the reputation of student accommodation as being cheap and functional, the popularity of Marchmont makes it a fairly expensive area to live in (though not as bad as the Centre or the New Town). Overall, property in Marchmont costs around £857 per month to rent, making it the 4th most expensive area to rent in the city. Larger 4-bedroom property tends to be cheaper, costing £1542 per month on average.
Once again, there is a large amount of property available in Marchmont so finding somewhere to live shouldn’t be too taxing – most property will stay available for over a month before being let. If the price of property in Marchmont is a problem but you still want to be close to the University, look either to its neighbour, Newington, or out west to Fountainbridge.
Image: The shore down at Leith, Edinburgh by sparkovonovinski via Flickr
With the cost of living around the centre of the city so high, many people who work or study in Edinburgh choose to live in one of its more distant districts. The most popular of these is probably Leith, historically a separate town to Edinburgh but now the city’s more alternative, bohemian borough.
And it’s easy to see why Leith is popular, with property costing an average of £271 less per month than in the New Town. Which means 1-bedroom rents as low as £533, and 3-bedroom rents of less than £900 per month on average. The cost per bedroom in Leith is a little under £400.
It’s also fairly easy to find a home that suits your needs in Leith, as flats tend to stay available there for a fairly long time. The current average availability period is just under 4 weeks.
Of course, as a major city there are plenty of areas in Edinburgh to consider. Granton, next to Leith, has some extremely good value property (although also some rougher areas to be avoided). Bruntsfield and Morningside on the city’s south side are affluent areas that don’t cost quite as much as the New Town, at an average of £857 per month. Stockbridge combines proximity to the city centre (it is roughly 10 minutes’ walk from George Street) with a village atmosphere that makes for a charming area to rent in.
Those on any level of budget should probably avoid the prohibitively expensive Old Town, but beyond that there are amazing deals and great properties to be found anywhere. We’d always recommend going through a registered, recommended Letting Agent to get some insight into where to look first.
This article was contributed by Patrick Foot who writes about lettings and property for Lettingweb.com, covering everything from moving tips to tenancy disputes to generating yields. He’s been a professional writer for several years, and now writes under his role as Lettingweb’s Marketing Manager as well as for various publications as a freelancer in his spare time.
Top image: Edinburgh viewed from Calton Hill by tourist at home via Flickr