Why buy in Edinburgh

As the capital of Scotland, Edinburgh is the UK’s second most visited city after London. 

Its culture, history, and many job opportunities make it a great place to live and work.

You might want to buy in Edinburgh because of its:

  • vibrant culture and art scene

  • shopping areas

  • top universities 

  • walkability

  • job opportunities in a range of industries

  • various festivals 

Edinburgh is generally more expensive than other UK cities, but there are more affordable up and coming areas.

Edinburgh property

It’s important to know what the housing market is like when looking to buy a home somewhere.

In Edinburgh, there were around 236,064 residential properties according to a report from September 2020. ¹

Properties in Edinburgh range from beautiful Georgian and Victorian townhouses in the city centre, to flats in converted warehouses in Leith.

Family homes in Edinburgh have become more popular since the pandemic. People are looking to live in bigger homes with gardens and home office space.

Edinburgh house prices

Between January 2020 and January 2021 the average house price in Edinburgh was £280,085. This is higher than the UK average of about £238,643. ²

Edinburgh house prices have been steadily increasing over the past 5 years. In January 2016 a property would cost an average of £227,589 compared to £284,527 in 2021.

Here are the average house prices in Edinburgh between January 2020 and January 2021 depending on property type:

Detached - £596,650

Semi detached - £378,187

Terraced - £302,501

Flats and maisonettes - £217,215

The cost of living in Edinburgh

Although property prices are higher, Edinburgh is cheaper to live in than 43% of the UK according to Expatistan. It’s cheaper than London by about 30%. ³

Here are some examples of what things cost in Edinburgh: 

  • A regular cappuccino - £2.77

  • A pint of beer - £4.66

  • A monthly travel pass - £58

  • Gym membership per month - £37

  • Cinema ticket - £10

First time buyers in Edinburgh

First time buyers might find that Edinburgh house prices are higher than in other parts of the UK.

Between February 2020 and February 2021, the average house price for first time buyers in Edinburgh was £224,486. This is more than the UK average of £214,601.⁴

First time buyers in Edinburgh are an average age of 30, and their average deposit is about £49,575. The Scottish average is £31,257. ⁵

The best places for first time buyers can vary depending on what you can afford, where you want to work and the kind of home you’re looking for.

See some of the best places to live in Edinburgh below.

Buy to lets in Edinburgh

Edinburgh has plenty of opportunities for people wanting to buy a home to rent out to tenants.

Due to the pandemic, many renters moved out of cities and rent prices lowered by around 4.1% in 2020. ⁶

However, the gradual return to normal has meant that Edinburgh’s rental market is picking up again. 

There has been an increase in demand for bigger homes. This could be because renters are looking for homes with gardens and more space now that working from home is the norm.⁷

You’ll need to make sure you have the right kind of mortgage to be able to rent your property out. Find out more in our buy to let and landlord guide.

New builds in Edinburgh

Between January 2020 and January 2021 the average cost of:

  • a new build was £292,347

  • an older property was £232,952

This is cheaper than in London, where a new build was £493,964 on average.

In order to offer more affordable housing, the Edinburgh City Council has said that they’ll build 20,000 new homes over the next 10 years. ⁸

Around 70% of these homes will be made available for social rent. The rest will be offered up for mid market rent and low cost homeownership.

Best places to live in Edinburgh

For a central living location, Edinburgh’s West End is a good option. 

There are great transport links to the rest of the city, with trains, trams and buses available to take you where you need to go.

As it’s quite a central area of the city, the West End boasts plenty of bars, restaurants and independent shops.  

Many of the homes here are Georgian builds, so they’re ideal for people wanting a home with a bit of character. 

Finding a flat in this area can be tricky, as they do not often come onto the market and are in high demand.

Stockbridge is located in Northern Edinburgh and is only a short walk from the city centre. 

It was named the best place to live in Scotland in 2019, and is known for its village feel and stunning Georgian and Victorian architecture.⁹

Other areas popular with families are Trinity and Inverleith.

At less than 30 minutes from the city centre, Morningside is a great place to buy if you want a village feel that’s still close to the busier centre.

Morningside appeals to families with young children because of the highly rated schools nearby.

Living in Morningside means being near Boroughmuir High School, which is ranked the top secondary school in Edinburgh.

The area has lots of options for things to do. 

You could: 

  • see a film at the Dominion cinema

  • go for a walk in Blackford Hills or The Meadows

  • ski at Hillend Ski slope

Given its closeness to the University of Edinburgh and the city centre, it’s no surprise that Newington is popular with students.

But it isn’t just students that flock to the area. Newington is also popular with young professionals and families. 

Newington is a good spot for anyone looking to be near Edinburgh’s centre. It has an array of cafes, shops, restaurants, and lovely leafy scenery.

Leith used to be an area separate from Edinburgh. Over time it’s become a part of the city, while still holding onto its own culture and identity. 

The area has gone through lots of development and regeneration and as a result has become an increasingly popular place to live.

It has great restaurants, bars, shops and transport links to the rest of the city.

There are plenty of 1 and 2 bedroom flats available in Leith, making it a good spot for first time buyers. ⁷

Portobello is an area popular with young creatives and professionals in their 20s as well as young families.

This part of the Scottish capital sits on the picturesque coast. Great for anyone wanting to live near the water.

Portobello is well connected to the city centre by regular buses from the high street.

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¹ Gov.scot 

² Rightmove

³ Expatistan

⁴ Land Registry

⁵ Lloyds Banking Group

⁶ CityLets


⁸ Edinburgh Live

⁹ The Times

¹⁰ Edinburgh News