A buy to let landlord popped into the office last week saying that she had read my recent blog about the new flats that Miller are building at Dalmore Mill between Auchendinny and Penicuik and wondered whether she should buy one of them. As an experienced landlord, she was less interested in the low maintenance nature of these new flats, rather she was thinking more about whether buying a flat or a house would be better.
I did a bit of research and it interesting what I found.
There are currently far more houses in Penicuik than flats. In total, 82% of properties in Penicuik are houses (split 18% detached, 34% semi detached and 30% terraced) with only 18% being flats. Interestingly Penicuik has a much higher proportion of houses (82%) than Scotland as a whole (63%) as the ‘Scottish as a whole’ figure is affected by the high proportion of flats in cities particularly Edinburgh and Glasgow.
However, the trend in Penicuik is to build more flats than houses. Over the last 10 years more flats than houses have been built as 10 years ago 83% of Penicuik’s properties were houses and 17% were flats. This trend is continuing if you look at the recent, current and projected building plans for Peniciuk overall. The main developments include Midlothian Council’s building programme in, for example, Eastfield Drive, Jackson Street and Craigiebield Crescent, Miller’s development at Dalmore Mill and Taylor Wimpey’s planned development at Greenlaw Mill – overall more than 18% (the current proportion of flats in Penicuik) of properties being built in these developments are flats.
The trend in Penicuik is seen across the country where the current proportion of flats (32%) is more than double the level of 20 years ago (15%).
So more flats than houses are currently being built in Penicuik. I believe that this trend will continue for a number of reasons:
- The current housing shortage is only going to encourage developers to create more and more flats.
- Institutional investors coming into the Private Rented Sector will be building on a big scale, and again, flats will most likely be their preferred property type as they can manage blocks more effectively.
- The planning regime will encourage the change of use of office and commercial buildings into flats in city centres.
- Councils are keen on high density flats as they can extract more council tax, therefore this might influence planning decisions. They also need to solving the housing shortage on a local level.
- Developers are turning big houses into flats to increase their overall value.
I suspect that the reason we are building more flats in Peniciuk is more to do with what the builders want and the planning process rather than flats actally being the property of choice for people in Penicuik looking to buy or rent a property – most buyers and renters in Penicuik want houses rather than flats. Given this, demand for houses should increase should increase as should both their sale and rental values.