Relocating to Edinburgh: the lettings market

Edinburgh’s cultural riches, royal connections, festival scene and world-class universities make the city a premier destination among a wide variety of people. In fact, Edinburgh was voted as the fourth most beautiful city in the world in a 2015 poll of Rough Guide readers, and the city also featured highly (6th) in a list of the dozen most dynamic cities in Europe, compiled by commercial property specialist Jones Lang LaSalle.

If you look behind the tartan and the tourists, there is a thriving business sector that makes Edinburgh the UK’s strongest city economy and transport mix outside of London.  As an endorsement, the Financial Times’ fDi Magazine named Edinburgh as the ‘Best Mid-Sized European City of the Future’ and ‘Best Foreign Direct Investment Strategy (Mid-Sized City)’ for 2014/15, whist The European magazine awarded Edinburgh fDi City of the Year in the Business and Finance Awards 2015, recognising its investment potential and innovation. is quick to point out that Edinburgh is a magnet for established as well as young companies, start-ups and entrepreneurs. Key business sectors include life sciences, tourism, creative industries, financial services, retail, sustainable and renewable energy, and technology/software. The city is the global headquarters of The Royal Bank of Scotland and home to a wide range of companies such as Amazon, Microsoft and Skyscanner. Major employers in the science sectors are based within the seven specialist science parks around Edinburgh, including Edinburgh BioQuarter, Roslin BioCentre and Pentlands Science Park. Amazingly, Edinburgh hosts over 230 companies involved with renewable energy, including the headquarters of 27 major developers and producers.

For all its business credentials, Edinburgh also offers residents a fantastic work-life balance, with art galleries, theatres, world-famous festivals celebrating comedy, literature and music, restaurants and historic monuments all within the city walls. 

It’s worth noting the rental market in Scotland is different to in England and Wales. For starters, it is illegal for a landlord to rent out a property without registering first with their local council. There’s also the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Bill passing through parliament, which intends to reform the private rental sector. Changes such as a single new tenancy called the private residential tenancy, and caps on rent increases for sitting tenants in Rent Pressure Zones will continue to shape the rental market in Edinburgh.

Demand for lettings accommodation is being bolstered by economic recovery says Rob Trotter, head of business development at DJ Alexander Lettings and writing in The Scotsman: “Edinburgh is doing particularly well thanks to the recovery in the financial services industry and the Scottish capital becoming a centre for hi-tech innovation, with many of the companies set up as a result now moving into profit and seeking to grow staff numbers. An influx of workers from the EU and beyond is also increasing demand for accommodation.”

When it comes to rental values, Edinburgh bucks Scotland’s trend, reflecting its status and appeal. Figures from Citylets suggest the city’s rent continues to rise, up 5.7% year-on-year, while rents in the country as a whole have fallen (Q4 2015). 

Edinburgh has overtaken Aberdeen as the most expensive city to rent in Scotland, adds Citylets, with its 11th successive quarterly rise. The city’s average rents now stand at £951 per month. Data from concurs and breaks down rental prices even further. Expect to pay, on average per calendar month, £920 for a one-bedroom property; £1,255 for two bedrooms; £1,772 for three bedrooms and in excess of £2,123 for four bedrooms or more.

The private rental accommodation on offer in Edinburgh is exceptional, with many grand period buildings and conversions in the heart of the city and the West End. Other prime areas include anywhere near the Royal Mile or with views over the Water of Leith, Stockbridge, Waverley, Haymarket, Slateford, Morningside and Marchmont. The lettings market also features a profuse supply of purpose-built student accommodation and a thriving short ‘festival’ let sector.

Our relocation agents are currently active in Edinburgh, sourcing properties to rent and helping settle home movers. If you have clients relocating to Edinburgh and would like orientation and rental advice, contact Adleo Relocation today.


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