Edinburgh Rental Market update – Q1 2021: A competitive marketplace


The Edinburgh rental market remained open as COVID restrictions tightened at the beginning of the quarter, with mainland Scotland entering a second lockdown. Understandably, market demand was severely reduced. We also saw a higher number of tenants than usual serve notice. As at the end of 2020, our experiences reflected those of agents across Edinburgh.

The quarterly reports from industry-leaders Citylets offer an overview of Scotland’s private rental market performance, with select agents highlighting their experiences. We were delighted to see At Home In Edinburgh director Rick McCann quoted in this Q1 report! The data gathered by Citylets provides a benchmark for comparing our own experiences each quarter – key in ensuring our continued excellent, efficient service to our clients.

The private rental market in Scotland

The Q1 2021 Citylets report found mixed rental market performance across Scotland. In the major cities the usual seasonal demand from students was absent, and existing student leases for the current academic year were also vacated.

Conversely, there was unseasonal high activity out with the cities as renters sought improved working-from-home environments. Average rents in Scotland rose to £826 per month over the quarter with two and three-bed properties recording the highest increases.

The Edinburgh rental market in Q1

Citylets’ report noted the impact of the pandemic on the Edinburgh rental market was intensified due to the city’s strong international appeal for leisure, study and work. The decline in demand for smaller properties was accompanied by an increase in demand for larger homes, however this was not enough to offset the collapse of the student rental market. The city saw an oversupply of smaller properties, a decline in average rents, and an increase in times to let (TTLs).

  • The average TTL (time to let) was 46 days, 13 days longer than Q4 2020, and 14 days longer than Q1 2020.
  • Average rents have decreased by 6.9% year on year.
  • 38% of all properties were let within a month, down from 54% in the previous quarter.
Edinburgh rental market - Citylets  Q1 2021 Report - Market overview of the private rental sector - Edinburgh
Citylets Q1 2021 Report – Market overview of the private rental sector – Edinburgh

Our experiences: At Home In Edinburgh

A competitive market

As the Edinburgh rental market becomes more competitive than ever before, we are committed to a proactive approach for our clients. We continue to assess how best we can present properties to cut through the crowded marketing space. Key activity during Q1 has been to improve our advertising and to make the best use of time between tenancies, renovating properties.

Long term lettings

Rick McCann, At Home In Edinburgh’s Director, noted that as COVID restrictions tightened, the trend from the end of 2020 continued into Q1 2021. We saw a higher than usual number of tenants serve notice and experienced longer time to lets, particularly for one-bed properties. This resulted in an increase in available stock and a downward pressure on rents. As we move into Q2, long term rental demand remains depressed.

Our concerns about the student market came to fruition with students deciding not to return in the new year and giving up their tenancies. Those that did remain negotiated lower rents.

Short term lettings

The tightened travel restrictions and national lockdown meant that holiday lets have effectively been closed. While we anticipate an increase in demand for domestic staycations as restrictions begin to lift, short term lettings are likely to remain subdued throughout 2021.

Landlords of short term let properties continue to be drawn to the resilience of the Edinburgh long term private rental market. We were pleased to help a number of landlords to make the move to long term rentals since the beginning of 2021.

Our team is here to help

We are a friendly, professional team, and experts in the Edinburgh rental market. We are always happy to help so please just get in touch with any queries. We are proud that 100% of our landlords would recommend us to other landlords.

Free rental assessments for Edinburgh landlords

As part of our commitment to supporting landlords through these challenging times, we will continue to offer free rental assessments. These are available to all landlords of properties in Edinburgh.

Assessments are specific to your needs, your property, and its location. Our experienced team will meet you virtually to consider all the options available to you, and to help identify the best opportunities for you right now. Email us at [email protected] or call us on 0131 229 4001 to find out more or book an appointment.