Parents spark capital sales boom with student flat buying

Rich parents buying up homes for their undergraduate children has led to a spike in property sales in parts of the city.

Thursday, 15th November 2012, 12:00 pm

According to figures provided by ESPC, total sales across the traditional student hubs of Marchmont, Bruntsfield and Newington are 21.6 per cent higher through the first nine months of 2012 than they were in 2010.

The boost has been provided by parents of university students as they look to secure accommodation for their children while making a long term investment, according to research by estate agents and solicitors Warners.

Many students rely on the “Bank of Mum and Dad” to cover their rent and for undergraduates taking a four-year course in the Capital, this means parents could face a potential bill of around £18,000.

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Coupled with the traditional shortage of student accommodation, this is resulting in a growing number of parents purchasing properties for their children.

The problem was again highlighted earlier this year when Edinburgh University oversubscribed its student halls at the start of last term, leaving 21 people living in local hotels.

Scott Brown, Property Partner at Warners, said: “What the Edinburgh University issue demonstrates is that there is an ongoing requirement for properties in prominent student areas and highlights the solid investment opportunity that this represents for people looking to purchase buy-to-lets.”

But not everyone is happy with the rise in student properties. Grahame Cruickshank, 68, a freelance historian who has lived at his Warrender Park Terrace flat for 34 years, said: “I am the only person in my stair who is not a student.

“For the past 12 to 15 years Marchmont has been dominated by students – there’s no social cohesion.

“I’m lucky if I have a dozen full nights’ sleep a year because of the noise of the students coming back home at night.

“Some of them are friendly and socially responsible, but most of them do not want to know and regard me as some sort of oddity – ‘why are you living in flats full of students?’”

Alistair Philps, chairman of Marchmont and Sciennes Community Council, said: “This is an issue that has been discussed for years, we need to get a balance and try to have a mixed community.”

Mr Philips added that much of the concern had been over the number of flats with HMO licences – which are required where three or more unrelated tenants are in one property.

“It’s not just students who live in HMOs, some are housing young professionals.”

Southside and Newington Councillor Cameron Rose said: “The growth of the universities has put pressure on space, but the growth is welcome and we need to provide more accommodation for students.”