1. New Town/West End. Historically, the capital’s number choice in terms of both location and product: a variety of impressive, traditional Georgian properties, many offering a unique lifestyle experience, and all within easy walking distance of the main attractions of the city centre. Of course, for New Town car-owners parking is a perpetual pain but with so many shops, bars, restaurants, theatres and cinema screens within easy walking distance, who needs one?

2. Bruntsfield/Marchmont. With city centre offices just a short bus ride away (or walk away for the more energetic) and the University close by, this continues to be a favourite – even after the departure of the Royal Infirmary to the south-east periphery. A comprehensive mixture of solid, Victorian/Edwardian flats ranging from one to five bedrooms. Shopping and leisure facilities mark the “youthful” character of these districts.

3. Stockbridge/Comley Bank. Edinburgh’s answer to Notting Hill, where even the charity shops are “chic”. A good supply of flats and town houses to rent, meaning it appeals to families as well as singles and couples. There is always competition among people wanting to live here, so properties let out quickly, so long as rents are competitively pitched. Local shopping includes a variety of outlets selling fresh food, as opposed to the pre-packed supermarket variety.

4. Haymarket. Despite being in something of a physical mess at the moment as a result of the tram works, this area continues to grow in demand from people seeking to rent. There is a good choice of properties, ranging from contemporary flats with all mod cons to traditional ‘Colonies’ upper and lower villas. But location is perhaps its strongest point – within walking distance or a one-stop bus ride of the West End, while the presence of Haymarket Station is a great bonus for commuters who travel regularly to Glasgow.

5. Leith. The port became “hip” in the early 1980’s when (with a mixture of new-build and converted warehouse flats) it was swept along on the wave of the first great furnished rental boom but with so much competition from other areas in more recent years, demand has fallen back. This, however, is good news for those who specifically want to live in the area as local landlords are having to set rents at “affordable” levels to attract new tenants. Another bonus is that Leith still has a real community feel, with shops and other local services plentiful. And for those who wish to splash out occasionally, it also hosts some very good restaurants.

THE SCOTSMAN, 4 March 2009