Edinburgh housing crisis sees average rent for two-bed flats go above £1,000 a month – John McLellan

Edinburgh Council’s Coalition commitment number one is to build at least 10,000 affordable homes by 2022 and come up with a plan to build 20,000 by 2027 and the administration repeatedly insists it is on track to meet the target.

Thursday, 18th July 2019, 6:00 am
Edinburgh needs more homes (Picture: Toby Williams)
Edinburgh needs more homes (Picture: Toby Williams)

The recent progress report shows that to date there have been 3,101 approvals which means that, with less than three years to go, some 7,000 new affordable/social homes will have to be built.

Hopes are pinned on the council’s development of the Granton Gasworks site, but as a planning application has yet to be submitted the chances of completion by May 2022 are slim to non-existent.

A new bulletin from property specialists Rettie shows that there has been an acceleration in house building of all types in 2018, with a 41 per cent rise in new starts to 3,421 and a 32 per cent increase in completions to 2,633.

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Edinburgh insists it will meet 20,000 affordable homes target

In Abbeyhill and Meadowbank, where the average one-bed flat price rose seven per cent to £169,887 in the past three months, there is hardly a scrap of land that doesn’t have a development plan but they do not all contribute to the affordable target.

The latest ESPC report shows Edinburgh house prices are up five per cent to £272,375 while another Rettie study shows the average rent for a two-bed Edinburgh flat is now £1,013, up 6.6 per cent.

Rettie warns the Scottish Government’s rejection of the South-East Scotland structure plan “raises questions about meeting housing delivery needs within the region”. On track indeed.

Stone throwers and arsonists must be confronted by the misery they cause

Rocks thrown at buses in Niddrie and a common stair set alight in Northfield; fear of crime might exceeds the number of incidents people actually experience, but they nonetheless have a corrosive effect on communities.

According to the latest Edinburgh People Survey, 46 per cent of residents are not happy with the way vandalism is dealt with nearly a third saying is it common in their neighbourhood. Nearly half are not satisfied with the way anti-social behaviour is handled.

These latest incidents are just those which make headlines, but all councillors receive regular complaints about appalling behaviour which is short of criminal but still makes people’s lives hell and all too often there is little the authorities can do. Locking people up might provide a short respite but doesn’t provide long-term solutions but confronting the perpetrators with the misery they cause should be a given.

Bonds of love stronger in Edinburgh than rest of Scotland?

Edinburgh is bucking the trend for older people moving into rented accommodation, according to the recent Scottish Household survey.

Here, 17 per cent of over 45s live in private rented accommodation, a figure which has not changed in four years, but across Scotland there has been a 3.5 increase to 28 per cent. Perhaps the national rise is due to older couples splitting up and new singles needing a place to rent, but the data shows divorces are falling, with 6,873 separations in 2017-18 compared to 9,903 in 2011-12. There is no official data for co-habiting couples who get fed up with each other.

Worrying signs for the economy

You have to dig a bit, but there is a worrying trend behind new figures published in the Business Gateway annual review, the yearly round-up from the business support and advice agency run by the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities.

There were 9,083 separate enquiries about new enterprises last year, compared with 9,129 in 2017-18, but the figure was 10,629 in 2016-17 and 11,242 in 2010-11. Edinburgh Council’s most up-to-date figure is for 2016 when 2,900 new businesses started, down on the previous year.