As well as being Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh is the economic, cultural and political centre of Scotland. Edinburgh regularly features in best places to live in the world lists. In 2019 Edinburgh was ranked 4th out of 56 cities globally in a Deutsche Bank Survey on quality of life (behind Zurich, Wellington and Copenhagen), scoring particularly highly for its excellent healthcare and low commuting times.


Edinburgh has a population of 518,500 (Edinburgh Population by Numbers, 2019), this is a 13.1% increase over the past decade, making Edinburgh the fastest growing city in Scotland and the second fastest in the UK (behind Manchester with 14.7%).

The city has a particularly low population density of 1,970 residents per kilometre. London, Bristol, Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester have over twice the population density of Edinburgh


Edinburgh has 77.8% of its working age population in employment. This is the highest in the UK.

`Source: Edinburgh by Numbers, 2019

The biggest employment sectors in Edinburgh are Health (14.7%) and Financial and Insurance (10.7%). NHS Lothian is the single biggest employer in Edinburgh with 19,890 employees. Edinburgh has the largest percentage of its workforce employed in Financial services and Insurance in the UK (London is second with 7%).

Edinburgh is ranked third in the UK in its ability to attract creative industries. This contributes to it having the second highest rate of employment growth in the UK (CBRE, 2020).


The average income in Edinburgh is £15/hr, making it the third best paid city in the UK. The average gross disposable income in Edinburgh is £1495/ month (per working couple; Deutsche Bank, 2019), the highest in the UK and 15th highest in the World.

`Source: Edinburgh by Numbers, 2019

House Price Historic Performance

Source: Hometrack, March 2020

The table above shows Edinburgh’s performance relative to the top 9 cities in the UK. Edinburgh has seen the second fastest house price growth in the UK over both 1 year (3.2%) and 3 years (15.8%), behind Manchester.

Cities that have experienced the biggest growth over 10 years, London (65.9%) and Bristol (60.3%) have shown the lowest price growth over the past year and 3 years.

Despite the strong price growth Edinburgh has seen over the past 3 years it has shown half the price growth of London over the past 10 years. Edinburgh is affordable when compared to London and offers far greater potential for capital growth over the next 10 years.

Rental Prices

Source: Zoopla Rental Market Report, Q1 2020
*5 Year Compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is the change in price over 5 years expressed as an annual growth rate

Edinburgh was the third fastest growing rental market in the past 12 months (out of the top ten cities in the UK) and has the highest 5 year compound average growth rate of 4.7%. At £950 pcm, Edinburgh has the second highest average monthly rental price in the UK (London has the highest at £1,586).


Restaurants: Edinburgh has the most Michelin starred and recommended restaurants outside of London (Edinburgh Evening News, September 2019)

Culture: The annual Edinburgh Fringe Festival is the biggest arts festival in the world with 2.8m annual visitors (Edinburgh’s population is usually 518,000!) (The Scotsman, August 2019)

Parks: Edinburgh has the most ‘green flag’ parks anywhere in the UK (Edinburgh by numbers, 2019)

Education: Edinburgh has the highest % its workforce educated to degree level or higher in the UK with 64.4% (London is second with 61% and Bristol third with 56.7%) (Edinburgh by numbers, 2019)

Conclusion: what next for Edinburgh post Covid?

Edinburgh has a particularly strong economy with the majority of its workforce employed in health, finance and insurance. It will remain an attractive place to live due to its position as a cultural, economic and political hotspot.

Our view is that in addition to the cultural, economic and political reasons, Edinburgh will be seen as an even more attractive place to live in a post Covid world due to low commuting times, its public spaces and low population density.

Low commuting times;

As Edinburgh is such a compact city, many Edinburgh residents walk or cycle to work. In a world of social distancing this will be seen as a huge attraction to people looking to relocate from more densely populated and larger cities.


We have never appreciated the public spaces available to us in Edinburgh more than over the lockdown. Edinburgh has the most public parks per capita compared to all other cities in the UK. This does not include the hugely desirable residents’ gardens available to addresses all over the New Town and the West End. These public and residents’ parks will continue to draw people to Edinburgh.

Low Population Density

Edinburgh has a particularly low population density of 1,970 residents per km. This is under half that in London (5,701/km), Manchester (4,740/km) Liverpool (4,420/km), Birmingham (4,260/km), Bristol (4,220/km) and Glasgow (3,590/km).

In a world of increased social distancing post Covid 19, Edinburgh will continue to attract people moving from more densely populated areas.

Next Steps:

Please get in touch with us if you would like more information on purchasing a property in Edinburgh.

Michael Hodgson

07813 082 468

+44 (0) 131 283 2833