Edinburgh faces a predicament - the population is growing and the provision of new housing isn’t keeping up .... even with the uncertainty caused by BREXIT. With the average age of a Edinburgh person being 38.6 years (compared to the national average of 40.4 years of age), the population of Edinburgh is growing at an alarming rate. This is due to an amalgamation of longer life expectancy, a fairly high birth rate (compared to previous decades) and net immigration (even with BREXIT), all of which contribute to housing shortages and burgeoning house prices.
And the population is going to continue to increase. Using data provided by the National Records of Scotland, I forecast that the Edinburgh population will grow as follows:
2016 population 486,310
2021 population 496,237
2026 population 506,727
2031 population 515,928
2036 population 522,590
The normal ratio of people to property is 2 to 1 in the UK, which therefore means that we need just over 18,100 additional new properties to be built in Edinburgh over the next 20 years.
Whilst focusing on population growth does not tackle the housing crisis in the short term in Edinburgh, it has a fundamental role to play in long-term housing development and strategy in the town. The rise of Edinburgh property values over the last 10 years since the credit crunch is primarily a result of a lack of properties coming onto the market, a lack of new properties being built in the town and rising demand (especially from landlords looking to buy property to rent them out to the growing number of people wanting to live in Edinburgh but can’t buy or rent from the Council).
Although many are talking about the need to improve supply (ie the building of new properties), the issue of accumulative demand from population growth is often overlooked. Nationally, the proportion of 25-34 year olds who own their own home has dropped dramatically from 66.7% in 1987 to 43.8% in 2014, whilst 78.2% of over 65’s own their own home. Longer life expectancies mean houses remain in the same hands for longer.
In the short to medium term, demand for a roof over one’s head will continue to grow in Edinburgh (and Scotland as a whole). In the short term, that demand can only be met from the private rental sector (which is good news for homeowners and landlords alike as that keeps house prices higher).
In the long term though, local and national Government and the UK population as a whole, need to realise these additional people over the next 20 years need to live somewhere. Only once this issue starts to get addressed, in terms of extra properties being built in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way, can we all help create a socially ecological prosperous future for everyone.
If you want to discuss any property matters, email me on firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on 0131 603 4570.
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