Scotland’s capital appears to have resisted the worst effects of the Covid pandemic last year compared with other cities in Scotland and the wider UK.  According to research from PWC and the think-tank Demos, the economy of Edinburgh will see a decline of 9.1% during 2020, less than any other UK city.

While this level of decline is of concern, the fact that Edinburgh has fared 2% better than the average UK city decline of 11% is relatively good news for business-owners and homeowners in the capital.  The “Good Growth for Cities” research hints that some rationale for its performance surrounds the relatively low Covid infection rate which was experienced in the capital, but Edinburgh’s resilience is also down to its sectoral mix and demography.

The report ranks 42 of the UK’s largest cities based on the public’s assessment of 10 key economic and wellbeing factors, including income and skills, environment, house affordability, and travel-to-work times.

The analysis also projects each city’s ability to recover from the pandemic and while those hit hardest are likely to recover more quickly, they will still remain worse off that at the beginning of the pandemic compared to more resilient cities like Edinburgh. 

After a bumpy start to the Covid restrictions, the Edinburgh housing market remained very buoyant throughout the second half of 2020 demonstrating that the public are showing confidence in its ability to rebound.  Richard Loudon, Chair of Simpson & Marwick said “This research backs up our own observations on the lively property market.  Business confidence remains relatively high and this optimism seeps out to the general public who are very active in seeking their next home.  We are seeing very high levels of activity for this time of year and this bodes well for sellers.

“The property sector is, however, very aware of our responsibility to comply with the Covid 19 restrictions in order to safeguard the NHS,” Mr Loudon continued. “It is imperative that we protect our clients and their families, so we are requiring prospective buyers to carry out virtual viewings first and we are also doing what we can to ensure that all viewers are genuine prospects.”