The strategy was commissioned under the City Centre Masterplan (CCMP), which has a goal of boosting the number of residents owning or renting a property in the heart of Aberdeen by at least 3,000 over the next 25 years.
Barriers to city living identified by Savills include limited high quality contemporary stock and the comparative expense of converting older buildings to residential compared to using a new greenfield site. Recommendations for achieving the target of 1,500 new homes include forming a dedicated city living team, making the CCMP's proposed Queen's Square residential quarter a flagship project, and a time-limited freeze on developers' contributions and affordable housing for schemes of 50 units or fewer in the city centre boundary.
Savills research showed that in the city centre:
There are 8,521 households (8% of total), with a considerably higher share of residents aged between 20 and 29
Owner occupation and private rented households accounts for 36% and 37% respectively, compared to 57% and 17% across the City
In line with wider trends, the number of transactions in the city centre in the year to March 2017 fell by 30% against the 10-year average of 500 a year, and values by 4% against the 10-year average of £152,714
While cost, type and availability of housing influences where people choose to live, the study highlighted the importance of the environment and amenities and said investment in the public realm was critical to securing residential investment.
Graham Reid, Head of Development (North) at Savills said: 'Aberdeen's property market is beginning to stabilise after a very challenging few years. The council should be commended for taking a proactive approach to future-proofing the city centre's real estate, and for putting residents at the heart of future plans: the strategy was based on our initial survey of their aspirations. It will be important for planners, developers and policy makers to work together to buy-in to any strategy in order to ensure Aberdeen's future as a vibrant place to live, work, visit and do business.'
Aberdeen City Council's City Growth and Resources Committee noted Savills findings and asked officers to consult with the local business community, developers and other key stakeholders on the implications. The results will be brought back to committee in the autumn, when it will also consider separate feedback on the wider Council Housing build programme.
Aberdeen City Councillor Marie Boulton, City Centre Masterplan spokeswoman, said: 'The Masterplan recognises the value of increasing the number of residents, which has a positive economic effect for local businesses and the wider city community.
'In considering the strategy's recommendations for achieving that, a necessary next step is to consult with range of stakeholders and for officers to use their feedback in drawing up a proposed action plan. The housing market has had its struggles in recent years but there is now an opportunity to capitalise on the strong desire for city centre living.'
For further information on the strategy, please click here.