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Edinburgh housing

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Professor Hague's article raises some interesting questions...Not least the assertion that 75% of Edinburgh house sales went to overseas buyers. If true, that's sending Edinburgh on a Londonesque trajectory where overseas investors also own most of the new building developments. Airbnb we've discussed previously. Anyone living in the city is only too aware of the impact of unregulated short term letting on the community and the housing stock.
 

southfieldhibby

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75% is poorly worded in that article. I guess it means 75% of Grant Property investment and management companies buyers are 75% foreign, which is probably true, they're part of the problem. Peter Grant happily boasting about having clients from 30+ countries around the world investing in buying stock in Edinburgh's market is pretty poor.

Having had a brief spell working in the residential and commercial property scene in Edinburgh, and still knowing alot of the folk who are actively involved in it, he's exactly the type of person we need to stop.

Biggest problem I think is big house builders landbanking. The Teague's sat on that huge strip of land inbetween Salamander Street and Leith Links for almost 2 decades before getting planning permission and selling on parcels for massive profits. Those Ropeworks flats won't be cheap, but they'll be shite, modern day slums in 20 years. Same applies to the shite built along at Newhaven and Granton. Built quickly and poorly, sold at extravigant sums to folk who can barely afford them.

There should be a rule for housebuilders, buy land, start building within a year of buying, finish within a year of starting and increase the % of low cost housing. Don't allow them to pay a fee to the council instead of including low cost housing within their developments, and don't allow them to include their low cost housing in other developments in less 'appealing' areas of the town. If you build in Stockie or Barnton, that's where the low cost housing units should be, not shunted into Craigmillar or Granton.
If the rules aren't followed, the council should be able to compulsory purchase the land at the price the builder paid.
 

aggie

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75% is poorly worded in that article. I guess it means 75% of Grant Property investment and management companies buyers are 75% foreign, which is probably true, they're part of the problem. Peter Grant happily boasting about having clients from 30+ countries around the world investing in buying stock in Edinburgh's market is pretty poor.

Having had a brief spell working in the residential and commercial property scene in Edinburgh, and still knowing alot of the folk who are actively involved in it, he's exactly the type of person we need to stop.

Biggest problem I think is big house builders landbanking. The Teague's sat on that huge strip of land inbetween Salamander Street and Leith Links for almost 2 decades before getting planning permission and selling on parcels for massive profits. Those Ropeworks flats won't be cheap, but they'll be shite, modern day slums in 20 years. Same applies to the shite built along at Newhaven and Granton. Built quickly and poorly, sold at extravigant sums to folk who can barely afford them.

There should be a rule for housebuilders, buy land, start building within a year of buying, finish within a year of starting and increase the % of low cost housing. Don't allow them to pay a fee to the council instead of including low cost housing within their developments, and don't allow them to include their low cost housing in other developments in less 'appealing' areas of the town. If you build in Stockie or Barnton, that's where the low cost housing units should be, not shunted into Craigmillar or Granton.
If the rules aren't followed, the council should be able to compulsory purchase the land at the price the builder paid.
When I get into politics, you will be my housing advisor, M. 👍
 

Hibee Kev

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75% is poorly worded in that article. I guess it means 75% of Grant Property investment and management companies buyers are 75% foreign, which is probably true, they're part of the problem. Peter Grant happily boasting about having clients from 30+ countries around the world investing in buying stock in Edinburgh's market is pretty poor.
Grant Management - now there's a blast from the past. When I rented my first flat around 2002 it was through GM and they were absolutely atrocious. Never carried out necessary repairs, bumped the rent up by 10% after 9 months, withheld the deposit at the end of the lease etc. At the time I recall chatting to a few other folk who had used them and their experiences were similar, their reputation was mud. Astonished they're still going!
 

southfieldhibby

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When I get into politics, you will be my housing advisor, M. 👍
Housing and infrastructure. Low cost housing everywhere and trams on all main roads. South Sub would be my first project.
 

vasco de gama

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All part of the wider world issues of people being fed the greed doctrine. Your life is a failure unless you make loads of money and appear all powerful. The most influential man on the planet is the embodiment of that philosophy and look how he made most of his money - dodgy property deals.
 

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I heard Edinburgh is the second most expensive place in the UK for buying after London. As we all know our council are more interested in tourists and students than residents.
 

Cabbageman

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Grant Management - now there's a blast from the past. When I rented my first flat around 2002 it was through GM and they were absolutely atrocious. Never carried out necessary repairs, bumped the rent up by 10% after 9 months, withheld the deposit at the end of the lease etc. At the time I recall chatting to a few other folk who had used them and their experiences were similar, their reputation was mud. Astonished they're still going!
I rented from them when I was up in Dundee, nightmare. Tried to keep our deposit saying the flat needed cleaned after we moved out but were promptly told to gtf after I showed them a receipt for cleaners we'd paid to come in and do it for us. Also when we moved in we didn't have a freezer, table or working shower for over a week. Grant property - never again
 

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75% is poorly worded in that article. I guess it means 75% of Grant Property investment and management companies buyers are 75% foreign, which is probably true, they're part of the problem. Peter Grant happily boasting about having clients from 30+ countries around the world investing in buying stock in Edinburgh's market is pretty poor.

Having had a brief spell working in the residential and commercial property scene in Edinburgh, and still knowing alot of the folk who are actively involved in it, he's exactly the type of person we need to stop.

Biggest problem I think is big house builders landbanking. The Teague's sat on that huge strip of land inbetween Salamander Street and Leith Links for almost 2 decades before getting planning permission and selling on parcels for massive profits. Those Ropeworks flats won't be cheap, but they'll be shite, modern day slums in 20 years. Same applies to the shite built along at Newhaven and Granton. Built quickly and poorly, sold at extravigant sums to folk who can barely afford them.

There should be a rule for housebuilders, buy land, start building within a year of buying, finish within a year of starting and increase the % of low cost housing. Don't allow them to pay a fee to the council instead of including low cost housing within their developments, and don't allow them to include their low cost housing in other developments in less 'appealing' areas of the town. If you build in Stockie or Barnton, that's where the low cost housing units should be, not shunted into Craigmillar or Granton.
If the rules aren't followed, the council should be able to compulsory purchase the land at the price the builder paid.
Agree with a lot of that but what if the developer doesn't have planning permission? Are they still forced to sell? I mean, by definition they couldn't have started building.

The whole process is sclerotic, but not just because developers want to make money.
 

Sir Shrink

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I am familiar with only the latter part of that word.
 

Purple & Green

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I was listening something today - brewing industry and the labelling on alcohol still doesn’t reflect the up to date advice because they got a three year grace. The point being, their responsibility isn’t to the consumer or the health of the consumer it’s to make as much profit as possible for the shareholders. Conflict of interest. And apparently 75% of drinkers stick to the government limit of 14 units a week.

Anyway, I digress, the point being housebuilders are no different - their responsibility is to shareholders not to the environment or the social well being of the area that the are building in. The lack of social housing in Scotland is a scandal, a cynic might suggest some people are benefitting from that.
 

vasco de gama

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I was listening something today - brewing industry and the labelling on alcohol still doesn’t reflect the up to date advice because they got a three year grace. The point being, their responsibility isn’t to the consumer or the health of the consumer it’s to make as much profit as possible for the shareholders. Conflict of interest. And apparently 75% of drinkers stick to the government limit of 14 units a week.

Anyway, I digress, the point being housebuilders are no different - their responsibility is to shareholders not to the environment or the social well being of the area that the are building in. The lack of social housing in Scotland is a scandal, a cynic might suggest some people are benefitting from that.
It’s not unique to Scotland though. We live in an increasingly global world and that is driven by the rush for a quick buck. They always throw a bone to pressure groups but it is just a bone.

We have a new 19 unit development going up and they include 1 unit that must be classed as social housing. In other words it goes for $400k instead of $600k.
 

southfieldhibby

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Agree with a lot of that but what if the developer doesn't have planning permission? Are they still forced to sell? I mean, by definition they couldn't have started building.

The whole process is sclerotic, but not just because developers want to make money.
Guess that highlights an issue with planning as well. Edinburgh in particular. I know plenty of applications never get seen by Edinburgh planning, instead they're farmed out to Stirling or Perth. Address the issues within planning, I don't think it's out of the question to buy land, create plans, submit, get permission ( with maybe a month or 2 extension for alterations demanded by planning) and get building within 12 months.
 

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Guess that highlights an issue with planning as well. Edinburgh in particular. I know plenty of applications never get seen by Edinburgh planning, instead they're farmed out to Stirling or Perth. Address the issues within planning, I don't think it's out of the question to buy land, create plans, submit, get permission ( with maybe a month or 2 extension for alterations demanded by planning) and get building within 12 months.
I don't either. But most authorities work on five year plans. To give an example, I've been involved in a development that has been in the planning process for over a decade with two refusals so far.

The problem as far as I can see with trying to speed that process up is manifold: it will necessarily steamroller local objections; and what would you do when developers don't get permission inside a year? Presumably you're not just going to give it wherever developers buy land? And if you're not then how do you ensure they can buy suitable land without an unreasonable risk? Because if the risk is too high they won't enter the market at all and you'll get even less development. Also what would you do about infrastructure, ecology, school need etc? Just allow new roads to be built wherever needed? Forget about flood planning, wildlife reports (these take the best part of a year in themselves), rush school plans?

There's potentially an issue with your idea of a development having to be finished in a year, which is that it's impossible to complete a 1000 house plot in 12 months. There's not enough labour or materials. And even if there were no company has the financial muscle to borrow the funds required to have those resources brought online immediately.

With my - admittedly limited, and local - experience of this issue the last problem highlights the bind that everyone is in. Historically government has been worse at delivering numbers of housing than private enterprise and deliverability is the key thing - you can give planning all over the place but in the end you need houses, not permissions.

Locally the kind of people who vote don't want more houses built so they elect councillors who are also often broadly opposed. the authorities then end up fighting central government over their housing need number. Eventually a number is created and the authority actually has to build the dwellings and they rely on large housebuilders to do it - who obviously won't unless they make money. In between there is a huge and lengthy fight to get permissions (which could be speeded up, but do we really want to say people can't object to housing at all - that strikes me as a dangerous precedent) over several years as the council's plan evolves. During that process developers lobby to get their sites in and when they do get permission they usually build, but slower than people want.

Solutions? I agree with you that some sort of simplifying of the planning process is required, but I'm not optimistic that forcing developers into constrictions will end up with them actually building stuff. And large developments are politically unpopular. My instinct is that much more social housing needs to be funded centrally in a way that doesn't just boost housebuilders profits but doesn't hurt them either. And authorities need to get to grips with this daft situation where the combination of people opposing developments, wanting them, wanting to make money from them, and wanting to live in them creates rubbish compromises that don't fulfil the actual need.
 

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Loadsa issues with building and re-building. Firstly the council made a mistake, I feel in terms of its strategy to pull down slum housing all at once. They had to re-house people often at high rents with private landlords. Pulling whole schemes down exhasberated the problem. Pulling West Pilton down street by street was more logical.

However, moving forward the council should use housing associations as they tend to look after their stocks better. I doubt it is possible but to me the council would be better putting a price stop on land sales and buy all the land for housing and sell it on to housing associations, negating the need for private landlords. Also put a cap on housing benefit so greedy landlords cannot make massive profits. It won't help with those people who do not rely on benefits but might force many landlords to sell back to housing associations or sell their property as private sales not for rent.

It is no secret also the one man owns most of the bed and breakfasts in Edinburgh and makes an absolute fortune out of the council taking homeless people in at around £80 a night whilst unlike hostels, offering no support for peoples issues. Some places do not even have a breakfast or give out one sausage and one egg. While he lives in a mansion.
 

Purple & Green

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Land for social housing is worth (considerably) less than private sector housing - this is a problem because your average land owner wants to maximize his return too.
 

Davy

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Land for social housing is worth (considerably) less than private sector housing - this is a problem because your average land owner wants to maximize his return too.
Yeh I realise that...just feel sometimes a bit of land reclaim might be in order 😀
 

southfieldhibby

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I don't either. But most authorities work on five year plans. To give an example, I've been involved in a development that has been in the planning process for over a decade with two refusals so far.

The problem as far as I can see with trying to speed that process up is manifold: it will necessarily steamroller local objections; and what would you do when developers don't get permission inside a year? Presumably you're not just going to give it wherever developers buy land? And if you're not then how do you ensure they can buy suitable land without an unreasonable risk? Because if the risk is too high they won't enter the market at all and you'll get even less development. Also what would you do about infrastructure, ecology, school need etc? Just allow new roads to be built wherever needed? Forget about flood planning, wildlife reports (these take the best part of a year in themselves), rush school plans?

There's potentially an issue with your idea of a development having to be finished in a year, which is that it's impossible to complete a 1000 house plot in 12 months. There's not enough labour or materials. And even if there were no company has the financial muscle to borrow the funds required to have those resources brought online immediately.

With my - admittedly limited, and local - experience of this issue the last problem highlights the bind that everyone is in. Historically government has been worse at delivering numbers of housing than private enterprise and deliverability is the key thing - you can give planning all over the place but in the end you need houses, not permissions.

Locally the kind of people who vote don't want more houses built so they elect councillors who are also often broadly opposed. the authorities then end up fighting central government over their housing need number. Eventually a number is created and the authority actually has to build the dwellings and they rely on large housebuilders to do it - who obviously won't unless they make money. In between there is a huge and lengthy fight to get permissions (which could be speeded up, but do we really want to say people can't object to housing at all - that strikes me as a dangerous precedent) over several years as the council's plan evolves. During that process developers lobby to get their sites in and when they do get permission they usually build, but slower than people want.

Solutions? I agree with you that some sort of simplifying of the planning process is required, but I'm not optimistic that forcing developers into constrictions will end up with them actually building stuff. And large developments are politically unpopular. My instinct is that much more social housing needs to be funded centrally in a way that doesn't just boost housebuilders profits but doesn't hurt them either. And authorities need to get to grips with this daft situation where the combination of people opposing developments, wanting them, wanting to make money from them, and wanting to live in them creates rubbish compromises that don't fulfil the actual need.
Folk opposing new build developments in their community drives me daft. Usually there's no sensible reason for them to oppose, they're just nimby selfish idiots.

Perfect example, behind my house in Portobello there was Standard Life buildings, left empty for a year or so and clearly earmarked for housing a decade ago. There is a significant lack of houses in the area. The local neighbourhood resident association gathered the troops and started a protest group to stop the development. Now I'm probably one of 30 home owners most affected, so their presumption is I'll back their campaign. A couple of the ring leaders knock on my door one night and hand over the petition, they cannot understand when i tell them I'm keen for the development to go ahead, even though it will result in my view of Arthurs Seat being taken away. I ask them what they think should be done with the land instead. Allotments, community garden, free to use art space and a wilderness forest are the suggestions. Now i love all of those things, but my 20 year old daughter who's going to be entering the property market in the next few years can't live in a wilderness forest. It also wasn't lost on me that the very same middle class local snobs will probably buy one of the new flats to rent out at over inflated prices.

I suppose the guidelines for builders need to be clearer, and larger developments probably do require longer than a year, but when a builder wants to build something, and the time frame suits their needs, I've seen some things appear in months.

As for schools, I've never understood why there's not a template for them. Kinda like McDonalds. there's a squad of workies travelling all over The UK chucking up McDonalds. Keeps the costs down on various levels too. You'd need maybe 5 different sizes to suit various areas and demographics, but seems obvious to me. Same applies to doctors. Aldi do it, so take a leaf out of their book. Simplify the planning to allow for these templates to be built rapid.
 

Jack

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What if, instead of builders having to set aside some properties for social housing they had to pay a social property "tax" that was then allocated to housing associations so they could buy, say, blocks of flats in areas where there was demand for them?

An example might be a development in Cramond, where let's face it the demand for social housing is low. The developer gets to build a few more expensive houses and a share of that goes to buy flats in Leith. 3 out of place houses in Cramond or 6 flats in Leith!
 

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