Edinburgh named best city in the UK for economic growth prospects

Edinburgh has been ranked as the UK city with the best prospects for economic growth in 2019, according to a study examining the “health” of cities.

Analysts say the number one spot - the first time a Scottish city has scooped first place - reflects the significant and increasing demand for residential and commercial property in the city and strong forecast for an increase in jobs.

The Vitality Index, compiled by national property consultant Lambert Smith Hampton, (LSH) provides a comprehensive assessment of the health of the UK’s town and cities.

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It takes into account education, entrepreneurialism, affluence, productivity, growth and environmental factors.

There is growing concern over the impact of holiday lets, particularly in Edinburghs city centre, where there is one Airbnb listing for every 11 residents. Pic: Shutterstock

Edinburgh was followed in the top ten cities by Cambridge and Manchester.

While Aberdeen, Scotland’s third largest city failed it make the top ten the city showed a dramatic shift in the rankings moving up 25 places to number 16 due to recent recovery in the North Sea oil and gas industry.

Ian Davidson, head of LSH’s office in Edinburgh, commenting on Edinburgh’s rise to the top, said: “It’s no surprise that Edinburgh has topped the rankings this year. It is an educated and increasingly affluent city and has a thriving social scene.

“Access to a substantial and diverse workforce underpins business success and expansion here, and supports the city’s wider growth.”

“As such, demand for space is very high.

“Our recent Scotland Office Market Report revealed an almost complete lack of grade A supply in Edinburgh city centre at present.

“This is great news for landlords and fuels investment in further property development and refurbishment, but presents challenges regarding the provision of quality opportunities in the short term.”

Izzy Watterson, the company’s senior analyst and author of the report, said: “Understandably, Brexit is commanding the nation’s attention and there is a great deal of uncertainty as to how things will unfold.

“Consequently, it is very reassuring to see that the economic health of the nation’s major towns and cities has improved since last year and the top ten locations should prove among the most economically-resilient locations of 2019.”

Although still dominated by the south east of England, the 2019 Vitality Index also sees the Welsh capital Cardiff feature in the top ten for the first time, moving from 18th position to number nine, due to increasing house prices and strong job growth.

Colchester also featured in the Index’s top ten for the first time, due to its rates of job growth and the city’s ambitious growth plans, which include a £3bn transformation project.