Steeped in history and culture, Edinburgh is at the top of the list when it comes to quality of life.
A city of true wonder and vitality, Scotland’s much-cherished capital is a continual source of excitement and discovery. Steeped in history, unrivalled in culture and a vision of beautiful architecture, Edinburgh is not only a worthwhile place to visit but a remarkable place to live.
With countryside, hills and coastline on the doorstep as well as top-rate education and employment, Edinburgh offers favourable lifestyle options to suit all needs. If you’re thinking of buying property in Edinburgh, read on to find out more.
How much will it cost to buy?
For buyers, the current average asking price is £293,761. The table, below, shows how many properties have sold in Edinburgh over the past 12 months, the average sale price and the current average value based on Zoopla's data.
What about renters?
Average asking rents in Edinburgh currently stand at £1,451 per month. Renters will need to budget around £1,141 a month for a two-bedroom flat or £1,802 a month for a four-bedroom house.
Finding an estate agent
Whether you’re buying or renting, you can choose the right agent with our handy AgentFinder tool. It allows you to compare the number of listings and time it takes to sell from local agents. There's a total of 181 sales and letting agents in Edinburgh listed on Zoopla.
Living in Edinburgh: what to expect
Edinburgh frequently tops the polls as being one of the UK’s best cities to live in. Despite much of the city centre being UNESCO-listed - thanks to awe-inspiring architecture and beautiful natural surroundings - there are many practical factors that make Edinburgh a highly liveable city.
Property in the city comes with a fairly hefty price tag in a highly competitive market. Despite this, more affordable living can be found on the outskirts of the city and compared to other places, employment in Edinburgh tends to provide higher salaries - lessening the blow of steep property prices.
Edinburgh's above-average salaries are driven by its strong and booming economy - another major reason for the city's allure. Edinburgh is best known for its financial centre, with the largest employers including the Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds Banking Group, Standard Life and Scottish Widows.
But there’s also a thriving technology sector – Amazon chose the city for its first European software development centre, and other international companies such as Dell and Adobe have a presence there. Other prominent industries include oil and gas, with Cairn Energy's headquarters being based in the city.
It's easy to try and compare Edinburgh with London, but what marks Edinburgh as different from its English counterpart, is its reasonable commute times. Edinburgh is a fairly compact city - considering its wealth of activity - and due to quick and easy navigation, residents are reported to be much happier as a result.
Edinburgh is also renowned for its esteemed education institutions. It has four universities, the longest-established being the University of Edinburgh, which owns many of the buildings in the Old Town. Meanwhile, Edinburgh’s Royal College of Surgeons is one of the world’s oldest medical professional institutions.
There are also plenty of excellent primary and secondary schools to pick from. Try visiting the Education Scotland website, which allows you to search by school type, funding type and location. It also provides lots of useful information about the education system in Scotland.
Top places to start your property search
There is a wide range of property styles and prices in and around Edinburgh. The neoclassical 18th-century terraces of the New Town, now mostly converted to flats, duplexes, maisonettes and townhouses, are generally the most sought-after.
Unsurprisingly, Heriot Row, the Royal Circus and Moray Place, among other areas to the north of the main shopping streets of Edinburgh, command high prices, but offer a location and a level of luxury that’s second to none.
The city centre – primarily the Old Town – is also popular with students, as well as areas surrounding Edinburgh’s many universities, which enjoy good transport links, plenty of amenities and a lively atmosphere.
Those looking for a buy-to-let investment would be well advised to consider the city centre, as there is no shortage of students and professionals seeking accommodation in the vicinity of the universities and financial district.
Similarly, nearby Newington, with its Georgian townhouses, and the affluent Marchmont, which boasts a range of 19th-century buildings with fine period features, are both desirable areas for rental property, and are well-served by cafés, bars, restaurants and transport links.
Meanwhile, Bruntsfield and Morningside offer spacious Victorian and Edwardian villas and are a popular choice with families. Despite being located within the city limits, Bruntsfield has a distinctly village-like feel with a thriving community and an abundance of independent shops. Some of the properties in the area offer magnificent views of Arthur’s Seat, the main peak of the group of hills that soar above the city.
To the west of the city are Haymarket and Dalry. Haymarket is mainly a mix of residential and commercial properties and is known for its Georgian and Edwardian architecture while Dalry is primarily residential and known for its tenement flats.
To the north of the city sits Edinburgh's port, Leith. Once a hub of industry, the area has vastly developed over the last few decades and is now a hotbed of popular restaurants, bars and shops.
New-build homes are also up for grabs in Edinburgh, although if you're looking for new houses you will probably have to look towards the fringes of the city.
What’s for sale
... for the first-time buyer?
Situated in a thriving city centre location and with next to no refurbishment required, this top-floor apartment ticks many boxes for the first time buyer. The property is in walking distance of popular shops, restaurants and bars, as well as many of the city's green areas, making this the perfect base for a balanced lifestyle.
Available via Purplebricks
…for the family?
This substantial three bedroom home comes complete with fantastic views, and despite the need for some modernisation, it offers fantastic potential with a well-planned layout and good-sized rooms. This property presents a perfect opportunity for a family looking to personalise their next home.
Available via Warners
... for renters?
With easy access to the city centre and close to independent cafes and shops, this stylish apartment is ideal for professionals renters seeking comfortable living in a lively area. The property also has the added bonus of a shared garden and permit parking available.
Available via Southside Property Management
... with the biggest discount?
Seeing a price reduction of over 20% over the last year, this newly renovated flat offers a fantastic opportunity for both first-time buyers and investors. Once a hotel, the exterior of the building maintains its original charm, while the sleek contemporary interior presents the perfect blank canvas for potential buyers.
Available via McEwan Fraser Legal
The most popular Edinburgh property currently for sale is…
It’s unsurprising that this stunning coastal home is turning so many heads. Situated on the edge of Musselburgh and effortlessly blending into the sea wall, the property showcases a magnificent six-metre long, cinematic window offering panoramic views of the Fife and East Lothian coastlines.
Available via The Modern House
Best ways to get around Edinburgh
A compact city where everything is within walking or cycling distance, there is relatively little need for transportation if you are living in the centre. However, there is a well-established bus service for suburban dwellers and people with limited mobility, while commuting by train is a popular option for those living further afield. There is also a high-speed rail service between Edinburgh and London.
Edinburgh Airport offers flights to destinations in the UK, Europe and beyond, with major airlines including Flybe, EasyJet, Ryanair and British Airways.
Things to do in Edinburgh
History: As an Edinburgh inhabitant, you’re unlikely to ever be short of historical places to visit. Attractions in the city centre include the Palace of Holyroodhouse –Her Majesty the Queen’s official Scottish residence, the imposing edifice of Edinburgh Castle and the Old Town’s labyrinth of cobbled lanes, underground streets and tunnels.
Culture: There are also plenty of art institutions and museums on offer, such as the Scottish National Gallery, the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, the Museum on the Mound, the National War Museum and the Museum of Edinburgh. Other attractions include Edinburgh Zoo, the Royal Botanic Garden, and the many theatres and concert venues.
A city of culture, Edinburgh is also known for events such as its Fringe Festival, Film Festival, Jazz & Blues Festival, International Festival and Hogmanay celebrations.
Food and drink: Edinburgh's culinary scene is one of remarkable adventure with an abundance of eateries to suit all tastebuds. Home to an impressive four Michelin star restaurants, fine dining in the city is a thriving business. The Kitchin is a reigning favourite and prides itself on bringing Scotland's fantastic natural larder to customers' plates.
Timberyard is also a strong advocate of local produce and sustainability - offering between four and eight-course menus with vegetarian and vegan options available. For an intimate atmosphere, The Little Chartroom is a small restaurant with a large fanbase and serves perfectly executed, simple dishes that receive rave reviews from food critics.
There's also no shortage of fantastic cheap eats in the city - led by favourites such a Mosque Kitchen, which serves delicious, budget-friendly curries. Oink, as the name suggests, offers popular hog roasts that see customers queuing outside, while Union of Genius - Scotland's first soup cafe - keeps punters warm with their hearty concoctions.
Edinburgh, unsurprisingly, offers an array of top-quality pubs with historical gems still quenching many a thirst. The Sheep Heid Inn has been serving punters since 1360 and claims to have had Mary Queen of Scots as a visitor. Sandy Bell's is a mecca for Scottish music and is heavily steeped in tradition having opened in the 1920s, and seeing a major revival during the 1960's folk music scene.
Shopping: The city centre has a fantastic retail offering, with luxury brands, high-street stores, independent shops and market stalls all within walking distance. Princes Street, St James Shopping Centre, the Royal Mile, Victoria Street and George Street are among the most popular shopping destinations, as well as suburban retail areas such as Morningside.
Sport: Edinburgh is very much a multi-sports city. For football fans, Edinburgh is home to Scottish Premiership teams, Hibernian and Heart of Midlothian, while for rugby followers, Murrayfield Stadium is the home of the national rugby union team and ignites with passion during events such as the Six Nations.
Golf enthusiasts will find themselves within easy reach of more than 50 courses in the south east of Scotland, including Muirfield, Gullane No 1 and Craigielaw, and those seeking to escape for some peace and quiet and sea air will find inspiration in the nearby Lothians.
Scotland's snowsports may not be synonymous with the capital but Midlothian Snowsports Centre offers skiers a taste of the action as the location of Britain's biggest artificial slope.