The historic city of Edinburgh is Scotland’s capital city. A hub for finance, creativity and culture, it is one of the most popular destinations in the UK for young professionals, students and tourists. This incredibly beautiful city also has a lot to offer investors. Purchasing a buy-to-let property in Edinburgh in the current climate is an incredibly shrewd move. Here’s why we think you should consider adding such an investment to your portfolio.
Creative, Cultured City
In 2004, Edinburgh was declared the first UNESCO City of Literature, in recognition of its significant contributions to the literary world. In fact, the city is the birthplace of such literary greats as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Muriel Spark, Sir Walter Scott, Irvine Welsh and Robert Louis Stevenson. It’s hardly surprising that J.K. Rowling found so much inspiration here, leading to her writing much of the first Harry Potter book in an Edinburgh coffee shop! And they aren’t the only creative people from the city to come to prominence. Beloved comedian Ronnie Corbett, famously of the Two Ronnies, and award-winning actor Sir Sean Connery, best known for being the first James Bond, were both born in the city.
Rockstar North, makers of the popular Grand Theft Auto video game franchise, are yet another big name in creative circles that calls Edinburgh home. They live amongst a growing number of start-up, tech and new media companies in what is the second most productive tech cluster in the UK (behind London). Surrounded by so much beautiful architecture and myriad of museums, art galleries and libraries, there’s plenty to inspire these budding entrepreneurs.
And with so much to see and do, it’s not surprising that Edinburgh is a major tourist hotspot.
Top for Tourism
Edinburgh is the second most visited city in the UK (behind London) by foreign tourists, and it’s not hard to see why so many travel to this incredibly stunning city.
As a visitor, you are spoilt for choice when it comes to museums, with the National Museum of Scotland, the Museum of Edinburgh, the Museum of Childhood, National War Museum and the National Library of Scotland all well worth a visit. Not to mention the historic Edinburgh castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse, an official residence of the British Monarchy! Then there’s Scotland’s second most popular tourist attraction, Edinburgh Zoo. The zoo is home to an incredible selection of animals, including Tian Tian and Yang Guang, two giant pandas on loan from China. Another animal that many come to visit is the Greyfriars Bobby. A statue of the loyal dog, who local lore says waited by his masters grave for 14 years, can be found near the main entrance to Greyfriars Kirkyard.
Of course many people plan their trip to coincide with one of the many festivals held in the city annually. The most famous of these is the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, a spin-off from the Edinburgh International Festival (the world’s largest arts festival), which it has now overtaken in popularity. Every August the city comes alive with comedy, theatre and a variety of other performance arts acts with over 28,000 performers and over 2 million ticket-holders descending on the city. These festivals alone contribute £313million to the Scottish economy.
And tourism is just one of the many industries that contributes to Edinburgh’s thriving economy.
Edinburgh’s Economic Prowess
Aside from the large amount of revenue brought in via tourism, Edinburgh’s resident population contributes to the local economy through a range of key industries. Known as a hub for finance, higher education and scientific research, the city is a haven for intellectual and culture-loving young professionals.
Since the Bank of Scotland opened over 300 years ago, banking has been a pillar of Edinburgh’s economy. Today, the investment and insurance sectors are particularly strong areas, with firms such as Standard Life and Scottish Widows based in the city. This has led to Edinburgh being the UK’s second biggest financial centre (again after London) and a top four city within Europe in terms of equity assets.
And with four major universities in and around the city, they are big local employers. In fact, the University of Edinburgh is the third biggest employer within the city. The cluster of higher education institutions has led to a large scientific community, focused on various realms of research. In fact, Peter Higgs, part of the team that came up with the theory of the Higgs Boson particle – considered a key particle in the Standard Model theory of physics – lives in Edinburgh!
With so many top universities and so much to see and do, it’s only natural that Edinburgh is very attractive to its countless students.
Unrivalled University Life
With four highly reputable universities in the city, plus a thrilling mix of nightlife and culture, Edinburgh has proven to be a significant draw for students from all across the globe.
Perhaps the best known, the University of Edinburgh is one of the most ancient universities in the UK, having opened way back in 1583! It is joined by Edinburgh Napier University, Heriot-Watt University and, just outside the city limits, Queen Mary’s University. Other institutions include the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh and the Edinburgh College of Art. Between them, they cover a diverse range of subjects from the arts to the sciences to practical fields like teaching.
There’s a lot to keep students entertained in Edinburgh, whether they enjoy sports, shopping, art or getting back to nature – Arthur’s Seat provides some fantastic views. And when they need to blow off steam, students can head to the likes of George Street or Lothian Road to experience the city’s fantastic nightlife.
Such a high number of higher education institutions has led to students making up one-fifth of Edinburgh’s total population. And with such a large student population, comes an even larger demand for housing.
Prosperous Property Market
Architecture in Edinburgh is a big part of what gives the city its charm. The Old and New Town districts were listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995, thanks to the unique look of the medieval street layout of Old Town and the stunning Georgian designs on display in New Town.
And whether you’re looking for a property with historic character or something more modern, there’s plenty to choose from here. Scottish home buyers also benefit from the fact that the majority of properties are sold on a freehold basis.
The private rented sector in Scotland is also booming, with the number of people living in privately rented accommodation in Scotland doubling in the past 10 years! There are current 330,000 properties privately rented out, a figure which is expected to rise to over 500,000 by 2020. Rents in Edinburgh are climbing as there is such a huge demand from students and professionals to live in the city. The average rent in Edinburgh is now £951, a figure which has risen 25.3% in the last 5 years, and rents continue to climb as demand far outstrips supply.
House prices too are considerably cheaper in the Scottish capital than they are in London for comparable properties. And with house prices rising by 8.9% in the last year, the city proves an attractive prospect for both those looking to live and invest in Edinburgh.
If you’ve enjoyed this article and are considering investing in property in this great UK city, then take a look at our latest Edinburgh property.