Cafe culture with a dash of oat milk points the way to areas that are on the up - Francesca Hill

Good transport links, independent shops, an influx of young people – these can all be indicators of an up-and-coming area that’s ready for growth and are useful attributes to keep an eye out for when you’re looking for a home in a new area. Edinburgh especially has benefitted from the buoyant Scottish property market of the past two years, and as a result, we’ve seen growth in areas all over the city and across the Lothians too, as buyers look towards the new property hot spots.

Francesca Hill is senior property valuer at Coulters, a leading independently-owned estate agency and solicitors across Edinburgh and the Lothians.
Francesca Hill is senior property valuer at Coulters, a leading independently-owned estate agency and solicitors across Edinburgh and the Lothians.

Another great reference is the local cafés; areas set for growth might have a few new independent and trendy coffee shops, while you’re more likely to find chains in established areas where the potential has already been realised. And it can pay to look one step further too – at the milk.

Whether it’s a cappuccino, a cortado or a plain old americano, one third of people are now drinking plant-based milk so dairy just isn’t cutting it anymore. In 2020, UK shoppers spent a whopping £251m on oat and almond milks, and the savviest baristas in growth areas across Edinburgh have had to respond to that demand, maturing their offering and adding almond lattes and oat milk flat whites to their menus.

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So, if you’ve got your eye on a move and your budget is more up-and-coming than established, here are some of the oat-milk sipping growth areas to bear in mind.

North Berwick has been a desirable location for a while now, originally with those looking for a coastal retirement, however, we’ve seen continued demand post-lockdowns from families seeking more space, better quality of life and good transport links. Those who don’t quite have the North Berwick budget could continue along the coastline to Musselburgh or Prestonpans for similar amenities at a more accessible price point. Both areas are becoming highly sought after, with Musselburgh showing the largest volume of property sales in 2021, up 134% year-on-year, and have some great coffee shops for socialising, remote working, or just grabbing that morning fix. Check out family classic Luca’s in Musselburgh or the Bistro at Brunton Hall, and yes – they both have oat milk.

Continuing along the coast Portobello is another area still on the up, especially with couples, where the most popular home type sold in 2021 was a two-bedroom flat. With the sea on your doorstep, it’s a great one for those who are into outdoor sports – wild swimming especially became very popular here during and post-lockdown – or for whom working from home has meant they can add a pet to the family. The area boasts a huge selection of great coffee shops too – try Tanifki or The Beach House, both of which have a variety of dairy alternatives on offer.

We’ve seen increased demand from families looking to relocate to Joppa as well, where four-bedroom homes were the most popular sold last year. Prices are reflecting this demand too, with sales fetching over 117% of home report value on average. The café scene is still developing here, but the good news is you’re right along the road from the much-anticipated Joppa Rocks, which is set to open soon.

And if you’re looking for somewhere slightly closer to the city centre, Duddingston and Prestonfield could also be the next cream of the crop.

So, next time you’re scouting an area, stop in at the local café and ask the barista what alterna-milks they offer. If it’s only dairy, they might not be quite there yet, but if it’s oat milk, chances are it could be a good one.

As for me, you’ll find me at Red Kite Cafe, my favourite spot in Abbeyhill, and I take a flat white - with oat milk please.

Francesca Hill is senior property valuer at Coulters, a leading independently-owned estate agency and solicitors across Edinburgh and the Lothians.

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