Flats at old Boroughmuir High site sold to Hong Kong investors months before domestic buyers get a chance

One buyer, who was told the marketing material would not be released until January, called the business tactic "immoral."

Thursday, 21st November 2019, 6:00 am

Flats within the old Boroughmuir High School development have been sold to overseas investors months ahead of them becoming available to domestic buyers, the Evening News can reveal.

Prospective buyers in Hong Kong were given the opportunity to purchase a “very limited selection” of homes in the new development despite one domestic buyer being told marketing material would not be released until January.

CALA Homes, who are leading the development, said the buyers in Hong Kong include investors and those looking for long-term homes in the former school.

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Flats within the old Boroughmuir High School development have been sold to overseas investors months ahead of them becoming available to domestic buyers.

The buyer, who wished to remain anonymous, called the business tactic “immoral”.

They said: “It is just upsetting. There is only a finite amount of housing in Edinburgh and the council put a lot of money through planning and you would think that local people would get the profits.

“I know these are quite upmarket but at the end of the day it is going to stop people moving up the property ladder and stop the mobility of the housing market.

“You become interested in buying and then you have no chance to buy it because it has been swept out from under your feet.

“Developers are trying to maximise the profits over the needs of the local community.”

The buyer first became aware of the special pre-sale through LinkedIn posts online where employees of CALA’s selling agent Savills spoke of more than 730 expressions of interest in the 87 home development.

A spokesperson for CALA Homes East, said: “The sensitive restoration of Boroughmuir High School is a lengthy, intricate process that means the first residents will likely move in around July 2020.

“As a result, we have worked with our selling agent, Savills, to launch a very limited selection of homes to potential buyers in Hong Kong. These purchasers include investors but also those looking to move in the longer-term, such as expats wanting to move back to the UK or those with family looking to study here.

“There will still be a wide selection of one to four bedroom homes available when the development launches in the UK, and when the timelines for moving home are much more amenable to the local market.

“We plan to bring forward our UK launch and those who have registered their interest will be the first to be informed of the new launch date.”

Ian Murray, Labour’s general election candidate for the Edinburgh South constituency labelled the pre-sale “outrageous” and lamented the loss of homes for the community.

He said: “It is pretty outrageous. When the sensitive planning application came forward I met with the developers and they gave me assurances that these would a community hub and flats and homes for sale for local people.

“If they are just selling them to be turned in Airbnbs and rental market properties that is something that people will frown at.

“These were supposed to be flats that people could live in. There was a big fight about the affordable housing part and people can add one and one together and be very upset.

“People are very upset about the way developers are operating and I don’t think this will do anything to help the issue.”