We’ve had a lot of success recently helping investors purchase buy to let properties in Edinburgh and a high proportion of these have been around Fountainbridge. I’m often asked ‘Andy, why do you like Fountainbridge so much?’ Well….here’s why……

(My interpretation of) A brief history of Fountainbridge

Fountainbridge was historically an industrial district occupied by a large brewery (and rubber factory apparently….) along the Union Canal to the South with the former Caledonian Railway lying to the South (The Western Approach Road now sits where the railway once was). Over the past 15 years the area has undergone a dramatic regeneration, underpinned by the demolishing of the McEwans brewery and the building of Fountain Park Leisure centre in the heart of the area. The grubby industrial buildings and (valuable) gap sites are under constant assault by swanky, modern offices creeping along from Lothian Road and the architecture, aesthetics and buzz in the area just gets better as each year passes.

All of this has had an impact on the values of tenement properties in Fountainbridge (and Polwarth) and some lovely new build apartments have risen around the area including; Citymark, Brandfield and AMA’s development at Springside (which kicked off the residential development between Grove Street and Fountain Park), pulling up values further. The big student accommodation operators have also caught onto the merits of the area with a couple of large blocks in operation beside Fountain Park and around Lochrin Basin at the end of the canal.

Why is Fountainbridge so popular with tenants?

Fountainbridge is such a convenient location for professional tenants, a short walk from the Grade-A offices around Lothian Road/Morrison Street and close to Haymarket Station for those working in the West. It’s also popular with students studying at the nearby Napier University or looking for accommodation on the bus route out to Heriot Watt University. The Union Canal is a lovely place for a walk or run and the shoots of gentrification are no more visible that ‘The Fountain’ bar on Dundee Street….a gastropub is a sure sign that an area is on the up! My dad told me 20 years ago that Grove Street was the place to buy and that you’d not be able to recognise it in the future…..I wish I’d listened to him!

What does that mean for rents in Fountainbridge?

I previously wrote an article on how rents and property values have fared in Edinburgh over the past decade. Since 2008, rents in the city have climbed at an incredibly steep rate. Specifically focusing on the streets around Fountainbridge, rents for one bedroom properties were, on average £536 per month in 2012, increasing to £722 per month in 2016; a jump of 35% in 4 years. Likewise, for two bedroom properties, rents were on average £756 per month in 2012, jumping a massive 43% to an average of £1,079 per month in 2016. This can be, in part, accredited to the new modern apartments built in the area between 2012 and 2016 (including McEwan Square and Brandfield) which you would expect to command a higher rent than traditional flats. However it’s clear from reviewing rents in streets occupied by tenement properties that these have seen similar rental growth over the period as the whole area has been ‘tidied up’ and has benefited from the wider scale regeneration. Here’s a nice wee graph indicating the trend of rental growth for one bedroom apartments in Fountainbridge since 2014:

This rental growth shows no signs of slowing as the standard of property available for let and the amenities in the area improves each year.

What’s in store around Fountainbridge?

It’s certainly not too late for property investors to jump on the Fountainbridge bandwagon as arguably the biggest changes are yet to come……..

Boroughmuir High School – the school has relocated from its old home further up Viewforth to this brand-spanking-new building across from Fountain Park. It has breathed new life into a large ugly site and will create a real influx of people (especially when the school bell goes!). I’m looking forward to seeing what Cala do with the old Boroughmuir school; they’re bound to create some fantastic apartments within the large floorplates and high ceilings of the old school).

Horne Terrace – S1 developments recently completed a cracking development of 1 and 2 bedroom properties on Horne Terrace which overlook the canal and onto the new high school. We were able to help one of our clients secure property here and he’s delighted with the finished product (you can see our advert for a property at Horne Terrace here). It’s only a matter of time before there is a real buzz along the canal with cafes and bars appearing, which will only be a good thing for capital and rental values, which leads us nicely onto India Quay.

India Quay – India Quay is the large scale mixed use development proposed for the huge gap site sitting between Edinburgh Quay to the east and the new Boroughmuir High to the west. This site was previously earmarked for Bank of Scotland’s global headquarters before the banking world imploded around 2008/2009. India Quay is an ambitious proposal to completely transform this area of Edinburgh and create a new community, including residential accommodation, offices, cafes, restaurants & even a cultural hub at the old Printmakers. You can have a look at the masterplan here although who knows when it was actually get off the ground….but when it does, what an impact it will have on Fountainbridge and Polwarth.

Lochrin Basin – Areas around Lochrin basin at the end of the canal continue to be developed with a Build to Rent block currently coming out the ground on Lochrin Place / West Tollcross which will further breath life into the area.

Moda Living ‘Build to Rent’ – Moda living & Apacha Capital have announced the building of a large scale ‘Build to Rent’ block on the site between Fountain Park and Springside. You can read more about this development here but in summary; it’s a development of 525 homes for rent which will be held and managed by the developers (rather than being sold off to individual home owners) and will include a gym, communal lounges, BBQ area and roof terraces with views of Edinburgh Castle. There will also be some new commercial space including shops, bars and restaurants and it will bring a massive influx of new people to the area. These types of Build to Rent developments play a large part in solving our housing shortage and in the future of The Private Rented Sector so we can’t wait to see this development come to life.

So, that’s why we encourage so many of our investor clients to purchase buy to let properties in Fountainbridge. It’s a fantastic, exciting area to live in and the best really has still to come!

If you’re interested in purchasing a buy to let property in Edinburgh or would like to instruct us to source a property on your behalf, please contact [email protected] who runs Umega Investments and has a wealth of experience and case studies of properties he has bought for happy customers.