Student flat hot spots see rents rocket

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LANDLORDS are clamouring to rent out flats to students as prices soar in some of the 
Capital’s most desirable areas.

Average rents in Edinburgh’s top student spots have rocketed over the past two years, with a rise of 20.1 per cent in 
Marchmont and Bruntsfield, compared with just 9.6 per cent in the rest of the city.

And savvy landlords are cashing in on the trend, with the number of large Marchmont flats on the market in March alone up 34 per cent on last year, a study by lettings website Citylets has revealed.

Properties in the city’s EH9 postcode, which covers Marchmont, are some of the most expensive in the city with monthly rents nearing £1900 for four and five-bed flats – but desperate tenants are snapping up flats in just 22 days or less.

Thomas Ashdown, managing director of Citylets, said long-term rents and a falling housing stock was beginning to “squeeze” supply, but insisted the situation was still a long way from the crisis facing other cities. In Aberdeen, average rents have risen 10.9 per cent over the last year and show no signs of slowing down.

“Zero tuition fees in Scotland is a strong pull that keeps demand for Edinburgh student property high. As a result average rents for larger, student-orientated properties have risen sharply in recent years,” he said.

“Whilst the rising rents may be of concern to the students themselves, many landlords are in fact working in synergy with the student market offering nine-month rentals, perfect for the academic year.”

But Barry Kirk, property manager at the Property 
Letting Centre in Newington Road, said rents couldn’t carry on rising for much longer.

“I can’t see the increase 
carrying on,” he said. “Everything has got a price when it’s going to start chasing people off, but the demand is still there at the moment.”

Student leaders have 
condemned the boom and claim rent costs have doubled in the past ten years.

Gordon Maloney, president of NUS Scotland, said he had “huge concerns” over rocketing prices leaving students “at the mercy of a broken market”.

“It’s worrying to see such high increases in large student areas, and it would be entirely wrong if landlords were 
taking advantage of students by inflating rents, which harms everyone in that community,” he said.

Jack Williams, 22, a computer science student at the University of Edinburgh, lived in Marchmont last year before moving to St Leonard’s Land.

“At one of our last flats in Marchmont rent went up by about ten or 15 pounds a month after our first year of living there, and that was about three years ago,” he said.

“It’s just not really feasible to live in Marchmont as a student or young professional.”

newsen@edinburghnews.com