New homes snapshot: Historic Edinburgh offers new build homes for all

Posted 9 February 2017 by Ben Salisbury

Scotland's historic capital Edinburgh is a cultural beacon and a lively city and a range of housebuilders have new build homes ready to buy across the city

Edinburgh is one of Europe’s most interesting and culturally significant capitals, with attractions including Edinburgh Castle, the Scottish Parliament building and the National Museum of Scotland as well as the famous festival that takes place every summer.

The city is a tourist attraction all year round but has plenty to offer local residents including Michelin-star restaurants, craft breweries, galleries, a lively independent music scene and great leisure options.

Edinburgh has been brought to life in the writing of Ian Rankin and Irvine Welsh, both reaching large global audiences through TV and film as well as the original books.

Rankin’s DI Rebus patrols the back streets of Edinburgh, thinking in its backstreet pubs as he tries to solve the latest crimes Rankin conjures up for him.

Some of the locations in Welsh’s Trainspotting are not necessarily attractive to would-be property buyers in the city, but recent research conducted to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the film’s release and its sequel T2, shows how property prices have shot up in many areas in which the film’s scenes were filmed.

Research from the Bank of Scotland shows just what a good investment it would have been to have snapped up a property with a Trainspotting postcode in 1996, the year the film was released.

Prices have rocketed by more than 400% in some of the areas featured. Leith, an area popular with young professionals has seen house prices rise by 205% from an average of £59,902 to £182,440 in December 2016.

Prices in the EH14 postcode area, formerly home to the bookmakers in the film with the “worst toilet in Scotland,” have risen at a similar rate, up from £86,281 to £266,748.

House prices

Recent data suggests the trend is set to continue, albeit at a slower pace due to factors affecting the rest of the UK, like political uncertainty over Trump and Brexit, but also helped by another familiar factor, demand outstripping supply.

Knight Frank’s Prime Edinburgh Indices for the final quarter of 2016, found property prices in the city went up by 0.5% and annual house price growth was 2.6% in 2016 with transaction volumes for Knight Frank up by 20% on 2015.

“The Edinburgh market has proven to be fairly resilient to both political events and shifts in policy over the last year. But there has been a real flight to quality among buyers, either in terms of location or specification. As a result, a shortage of suitable properties for sale is among the biggest challenge facing the market as we head into 2017,” said Edward Douglas-Home, Head of Edinburgh City Sales at Knight Frank.

Edinburgh: Key stats from City of Edinburgh Council 

  • The Edinburgh City Region is defined as covering Edinburgh, East Lothian, West Lothian, Midlothian Fife, and the Scottish Borders.
  • The population went up by 9% between 2005 and 2015 and at that point was 498,800, 9% of the population of Scotland.
  • The data suggests that there will be strong growth in residents of a housebuying age, 30-49 over the next 20 years. 
  • Edinburgh has a high proportion of young workers; 23.2% of all males and 24.8% of all females are aged 16-29 years.
  • Edinburgh at the end of 2015 was third in employment in UK cities, behind Bristol and Leeds with almost 73% of potential workforce in employment.
  • The annual number of property sales in Edinburgh grew from 7,423 in 2011 to 12,431 in 2015.
  • The number of new build homes started in 2015 was 1,760, up from just 630 in 2011 and up from 1,285 in 2013.
  • Hometrack data shows that at the end of October 2016, the average property in Edinburgh was valued at £203,200.

Meanwhile local property experts ESPC has published data showing the average selling price for properties in east central Scotland went up by 4.9% in the final three months of 2016 to £209,654.

It found that three-bedroom properties in Balerno, Currie and the Juniper Green areas of south west Edinburgh saw increases of up to 25%.

Over the same period, ESPC saw a 6.3% fall in the number of properties being sold and an 8.1% drop in the number of new instructions for sale. This has helped sales take an average of only 25 days, 29% quicker than the same period in 2015.

Local developers and agents think the local property market ended 2016 on a high. In the east of Scotland, Barratt Homes reports a surge in the number of first time buyers securing their first home in 2016.

Alison Condie, managing director at Barratt East Scotland, said: “It is great to see that the lending market continues to remain in favour of the customer. In particular, many movers in the East are not only finding it cheaper to buy than to rent, but also much easier to purchase thanks to Help to Buy and other schemes.”

Barratt Scotland recently has announced the completion of 1,500 new home sales in Scotland using the Scottish Government’s Help to Buy scheme.

Edinburgh is alive with new developments in the city centre, Leith, Blackford, Danderhall, Musselburgh, New Craighall, Portobello but what is currently available and what it’s like to live there?

A number of housebuilders are active in the Edinburgh property market with new developments ready for buyers to move in across the city and its suburbs.

City centre homes:

Ten Brunswick Road, CALA Homes

Ten Brunswick Road (CALA Homes)This central city development just off Elm Row at the top of Leith Walk is close to the action and just minutes away from some of Edinburgh’s iconic buildings and attractions.

With an eclectic selection of bars and restaurants close by, residents can also access the shops at Princes Street, just over a mile away with and the universities are close by too.

Part exchange is available on some of these three bedroom apartments. Two beds are also available and one-bedroom apartments are set to be releases in the future. The apartments all have generous balconies, terrace or garden space and have been designed to maximise light by using enhanced height windows.

Find out more about Ten Brunswick Road from CALA Homes

Quartermile (QMile)

Quartermile (Edinburgh)Neighbouring the world-renowned University of Edinburgh to one side and The Meadows to the other, Quartermile blends historical conversion properties with striking new build apartments master-planned by Foster + Partners.

Quartermile was the first development to win gold three times in the WhatHouse? best mixed-use development category.

The development is ideally located, just minutes from the famous Princes Street with Waverley and Haymarket train stations within walking distance. Quartermile has established itself as one of Edinburgh’s most sought-after addresses.  The award-winning development’s luxurious new build apartments have always been in demand thanks to the desirable location, high-specification interiors, unrivalled views over the city and the lifestyle on offer. Prices on the current release in Meadows Point range from £329,995 for a one-bedroom apartment to £599,500 for a two-bedroom apartment.

Varcity North, Miller Homes

Varcity North (Miller Homes)Also close to the centre of town, Varcity North is also next to one of the cities most popular walking and cycling paths, a route that goes from Leith Waterfront to Murrayfield.

The development has been designed to reflect and enhance its superb setting close to the Royal Botanic Gardens.

There are one or two-bedroom apartments currently available.

Price: From £139,995

Find out more about Varcity North from Miller Homes

North Edinburgh homes

Caer Amon, AMA Homes

Caer Amon (AMA Homes)This mixed development is in Cramond, a picturesque village just outside Edinburgh with majestic views towards The Firth of Forth and featuring a mix of 22 detached villas, 28 terraced and court houses and 32 apartments and penthouses.

Featuring distinctive architecture and a design using white washed walls and slate roofs give the homes a contemporary art and craft style of architecture.

The development is just minutes away from the motorway network connecting to Glasgow and Edinburgh Airport is only three miles away.

Find out more about Caer Amon from AMA Homes

Silverfields, Leith, Persimmon Homes

Silverfields (Persimmon Homes)This collection of one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom homes and two-bedroom apartments is close to the Leith shore area of Edinburgh and offers easy access to the city centre as well as being next to a park.

The area is lively and close to bars and restaurants and historic city centre sites and cultural venues as well as being close to parks, countryside and the coast.

Shopping is available at Ocean Terminal with over 70 shops and this is also the home of the Royal Yacht Britannia.

Prices: From £245,000

Find out more about Silverlands from Persimmon Homes

Barratt @ Portobello, Edinburgh

Barratt @ PortobelloKnown as Edinburgh’s seaside, Portobello has long been a favourite beach haunt for Edinburgh residents keen to enjoy golden sands, cosy coffee stops and views across the sea to Fife.

Launching in March 2017, Barratt @ Portobello is just a stone’s throw from the beach and features a range of apartments, colony flats and houses.

The community feel and fantastic transport links to the city centre make the development a dream come true for those keen to retain easy access to Edinburgh.

Prices to be confirmed on launch.

For more information visit

Find more new builds in Edinburgh here

Edinburgh property news and new developments

The Edinburgh Evening News reports that a developer, Hopefield Partnerships, is looking to build 89 affordable mid-market houses and flats on the site of the former Hunter’s Tryst Primary School on behalf of Castle Rock Edinvar Housing Association. The school was demolished after a fire nearly ten years ago.

The development will include two-storey terraced and semi-detached homes, including some with private gardens and parking and a four-storey block of flats. However, this is still at the planning application stage and the public have been invited to give their views.

Edinburgh City Council is involved in plans for a 46-flat development on a brownfield site in Royston, part of its aim to deliver 40,000 affordable and mid-market homes in the city over the next decade.

The homes have been designed by Barton Willmore acting on behalf of Robertson Partnership Homes and City of Edinburgh Council 21st Century Homes.

Meanwhile Miller Homes and Bellway Homes, with the support of Midlothian Council, have agreed deals with Shawfair LLP to build up to 358 new homes for sale and affordable rent over the next five years in Midlothian and the south east of Edinburgh.

Construction on the Danderhall South site in Shawfair is expected to begin in the spring of 2017, subject to final planning approval.

Nick Waugh, director of Shawfair LLP, said: “This announcement comes at a time of great need for a quality mix of housing in the area and represents a key moment in the lifespan of the project so far as we look to realise our vision of creating a community and desirable place to live at Shawfair in the future.”

Bellway Homes will build 236 new homes just north of Shawfair Park, a mixture of two-, three-, four-, and five-bedroom housing for sale and affordable rent.

Miller Homes will build a further 122 new homes of two, three, four and five bedrooms for sale and affordable rent at the east of Danderhall.

 Andy Wyles, managing director of Bellway Homes (Scotland) Ltd, said: “This is undoubtedly one of the most exciting new residential developments in Scotland and we are thrilled to be playing a part in the growth of this vibrant new community, as part of our ongoing expansion in the East of Scotland.”

A smaller housebuilder, Springfield Properties has partnered Dunedin Canmore to bring 80 new homes, including one bedroom cottage flats, an apartment block of one and two bedroom flats and a mix of two three bed terraced homes, at the Muirhouse development in the city over the next three years, with the first homes expected to be ready next month.

Other property types

Student property is an extremely important factor in the Edinburgh property mix. Edinburgh is the UK’s most educated city and a high proportion of students stay on and live in the city after graduating. Around 55% of the Edinburgh workforce holds a university degree or equivalent.

The city has four universities and nearly 60,000 students, which means demand outstrips supply for student accommodation.

Oliver Ramsden Director of Aspen Woolf, property investment company, said: "The most recent statistics show that Edinburgh is quickly emerging as the desirable location for investment in the sector. The QS World University Rankings 2016/17 have placed the University of Edinburgh 19th in the world, ensuring that student numbers will continue to grow heightening the need for quality student accommodation."

One new student property development reported on by the Scottish Housing News that could be attractive to investors is a new 234 bedroom development located on Orwell Terrace in the Dalry district of the city centre, created for students attending Edinburgh Napier University.

CCG is the developer and says the facility is “ideally suited” for student living, with the development situated within 1000m of many local amenities, including supermarkets and a sports centre as well as extensive traffic links that feed directly to some of the University’s campuses and wider parts of the city and beyond.

Alastair Wylie, Chairman and CEO, CCG said: “Orwell Terrace is a modern development for the modern student, ideally located in order for young people to benefit from their studies as well as the city of Edinburgh.”

Find out more about investing in student housing

Investment property

As other parts of the UK have reached their peak for now, particularly London, property investors are looking at other options and Edinburgh is high on that list.

Lettings expert Cullen Property reported a 30% rise in investors interested in properties across Edinburgh.

Cullen reports that many landlords are diversifying to locations including Edinburgh after the London investment property market reached its peak

Steve Coyle, operations director at Cullen Property, said: “Investors stated they were preferring to move away from London. They were interested particularly in Edinburgh as, unlike other major UK cities, it has the diversity of being a major student centre, as well as being the second tourist city destination in the UK. They were particularly interested in the city’s heritage and quality property on offer.”

The news comes as average rents in Edinburgh are set to hit £1000 a month for the first time. Figures compiled by Citylets found rents were up 6.6% year on year.

Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, said the rise was “alarming” and would “worry renters across Edinburgh, many of whom are already feeling overwhelmed by the increasing pressure of sky-high housing costs”.

Meanwhile, David Wilson Homes’ have introduced a sale and leaseback scheme available on a few different show homes in the East of Scotland

The scheme provides investors with the opportunity to purchase one of the developer’s brand new properties and earn money whilst renting it back to the developer during the property’s use as a show home. It offers a guaranteed 6% annual rental yield aid on a monthly basis for the duration of the property’s time as a show home.

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