Is this the New Norm? Edinburgh’s Private Rental Sector - Q4 2020 analysis


Edinburgh’s private rental sector continues to face exceptional challenges during the Coronavirus pandemic. Our experiences broadly reflected those across the city, with an increase in available properties during the quarter.

Up-to-date knowledge of the private rental sector (PRS) is vital in ensuring that we continue to provide an excellent, efficient service to our clients. Citylets’ quarterly reports offer an overview of Scotland’s private rental market performance. These provide a benchmark for our own experiences each quarter.

The private rental sector in Scotland

The property market remained open through Q4 2020, as Scotland moved into tiered Coronavirus restrictions and then towards a further lockdown. The Q4 29020 Citylets report found that rental property search remained buoyant in Scotland and the average rental value rose but Edinburgh rents decreased.

Edinburgh’s private rental sector in Q4

Citylet’s report found that Edinburgh’s private rental sector continued with a high level of excess properties, as more short term holiday rentals made the switch to long term letting. This led to a fall in average rents. Interestingly, the average time to let reduced significantly on the previous quarter.

  • The average TTL was 33 days, 13 days faster than Q3 2020, but 11 days longer than Q4 2019.
  • Average rents have decreased by 4.1% year on year.
  • 54% of all properties were let within a month, up from 45% in the previous quarter.
Table showing Citylets data for the Edinburgh private rental sector
Citylets Q4 2020 Report – Market overview of the private rental sector – Edinburgh

Our experiences: At Home In Edinburgh

The new norm

The necessary adaptations we made to our processes during the second and third quarters of 2020 – such as virtual viewings – meant that we were well-placed to navigate the Coronavirus restriction levels, and the build up to a second lockdown.

Long term lettings

Rick McCann, At Home In Edinburgh’s Director, noted that after a turbulent Q2 and Q3, the start of Q4 brought a period of relative stability. We had a low level of stock on the market and relatively low turnover of properties.

Our biggest concern for the end of Q4 was that students would not return to continue tenancies after the Christmas break; however, this did not materialise. Some student properties negotiated lower rents but remained occupied.

Available stock increased during December as tenants moved to larger properties to accommodate working from home and to move in with partners. The traditionally easy-to-let one-bedroom flats had a much longer TTL. We experienced a further spike in tenants giving notice following the announcement of the stronger restrictions that were introduced from Boxing Day.

Short term lettings

The short term market continues to face extraordinary challenges, with travel restrictions effectively closing holiday lets. In addition, new legislation covering short term lets is under review and due to come into force in April 2022.

Edinburgh’s resilient long term private rental sector is well-placed to withstand the ongoing challenges of the pandemic. We were therefore pleased to help a number of landlords make the switch to long term rentals during Q4.

Free assessments for Edinburgh holiday let landlords

We remain committed to supporting landlords during these unprecedented market conditions. One of the ways we are doing this is through free rental assessments, available to all landlords 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.

We are a friendly, professional team, and 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.