Edinburgh property boom means more expensive housing

The �200m Haymarket development
The �200m Haymarket development
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MAJOR commercial developments in the city centre are set to spark a housing price boom, experts predict.

The £200 million office, hotel and retail project by Tiger Developments at Haymarket, the controversial Caltongate scheme in the Old Town and the St James Quarter redevelopment are all expected to affect residential property values in the surrounding areas.

But first-time buyers seeking to get a foot on the ladder in the Capital’s highly-pressured property market could be hit by soaring prices in areas where they have previously been able to find homes they can afford.

Rob Trotter, business development manager at estate agency DJ Alexander Legal, said: “South of Haymarket station, many of the traditional 
tenements in or around Dalry Road have undergone improvement and are popular as ‘starter flats’ with young singles and couples intending to move up the housing ladder.

“At present it is possible to obtain sound, if compact, accommodation from £115,000 but these prices will inevitably rise the closer the nearby Tiger scheme gets to completion.”

He said high-value flats in the West End were also likely to see a price increase due to an influx of relatively well-paid professional staff based at Haymarket.

Meanwhile, the £150m Caltongate project – now called New Waverley – involving offices, hotels, shops and leisure, is forecast to push up prices around the Canongate.

DJ Alexander Legal said some properties had already seen an increase in value. A flat on Calton Road, purchased in 2007 for £235,000, recently sold for £288,000, although the only improvements had been painting and decoration.

And the £800m St James Quarter scheme is expected to produce a boost for prices around the top of Leith Walk.

Being within the vicinity of the new St James is predicted to add cachet to the area.

The Edinburgh Solicitors Property Centre agreed the new projects in the city centre were likely to lead to price increases.

A spokeswoman said: “New mixed-use developments bring a sense of reinvigoration to the area, often seeing a shift in where high-end, exclusive retailers choose to be located.

“These new facilities and services will then attract more people who wish to live in an increasingly vibrant area.”

She said it often took time for the effects of new developments to feed through, particularly since people could be deterred from moving in while heavy construction was still under way.

But she said: “No doubt these developments at Haymarket, New Waverley and St James Centre will attract business and investment, and make these areas even more desirable.

“The market is only just recovering from the recession, but areas such as Leith Walk, Fountainbridge, Gorgie and Haymarket are increasingly becoming popular places to live and to buy property, so we anticipate the market will continue to see steady year-on-year growth.”