Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a Trainspotting postcode

21 January 2017

While it seems Begbie’s temper hasn’t changed much since Trainspotting first hit the big screen in 1996, house prices in many of the film’s location postcodes have increased over 200% in the last 20 years, according to new research from Bank of Scotland. 

Leith is very different nowadays to the one portrayed in Irvine Welsh’s novel and film; it’s had an injection of life as more young professionals have moved in to the area. This, however, has meant it’s lost many of its spit and sawdust pubs, including the Volunteer Arms on Leith Walk (or “the Volley” as Begbie called it) which was turned in to a smart gin and whisky bar in 2014. Had you invested in a property in Leith in 1996, it would have cost an average £59,902. Fast forward twenty years and that wouldn’t wash now as average prices have risen to £182,440 - 205% more.

It’s impossible to forget the infamous scene where Renton crawls out of the “Worst Toilet in Scotland” (which smelled much better than it looked seeing it was covered with chocolate). This particular bookie was located on Muirhouse’s Pennywell Road and is another location which has long since disappeared. There were of course more pleasant establishments within this EH4 postcode and if you were to buy a property twenty years ago in this area, you would be looking at an average £86,281. Prices have increased 209% since then however, as the average price would have skinned you £266,748 in December 2016.

Although the film is set in Edinburgh, much of Trainspotting was actually filmed in Glasgow, with a disused cigarette factory providing the setting for 60% of the film’s locations.

The park in which Sick Boy beautifully illustrates his unifying theory of life to Renton was one of the many Glasgow locations; Rouken Glen Park in Thornliebank, East Renfrewshire. The rise in house prices in G46 since 1996 is almost on track with Leith, seeing an impressive 194% increase. Back then, a property would set you back an average £78,799, whereas by December 2016 you were now looking at a price of £231,362.

Sadly Volcano nightclub on Glasgow’s Benalder Street, where Renton meets Diane, has since been demolished, but will forever be kept alive thanks to it creating such a prominent background to their conversation outside. Property prices in this G11 postcode have been coasting along nicely over the last 20 years, seeing a 218% increase over that time. If you bought back in 1996, a property would have cost an average £56,486 - in December 2016 it was 179,833.

The flat that Renton tries to let in London is on the corner where Talgarth Road meets North End Road, just a stone’s throw from West Kensington tube station. Property prices in this W14 postcode have unsurprisingly gone sky high, seeing a massive 439% increase from an average price tag of £125,271 in December 1996 to £674,840 in December last year.

The Royal Eagle Hotel, on London’s Craven Road, sets the scene where Begbie smashes up the hotel room after he realises Renton took the sports bag, containing £16,000, from his arms while he slept and quietly left. The City of Westminster (W2) has also seen property prices go up like rocket fuel - 312% over the last 20 years. The average price of £166,115 for a property back in 1996 would be seen as quite a bargain nowadays, especially as prices averaged £683,699 in December last year.

Graham Blair, Mortgage Director at Bank of Scotland said, “The trailer for Trainspotting 2 subtly highlights how much the world has changed since Trainspotting was released 20 years ago - John Menzies has disappeared from Edinburgh’s Princes Street, trams are now a prominent city centre feature and Renton is married.

“If you had decided to choose a Trainspotting postcode back in 1996, you would have seen a solid boost in value since then. London of course has seen the biggest increase, as prices there have shot up in comparison to Scotland, however the 200%+ increase that most of the Scottish locations saw is more than acceptable. Choose a mortgage, a starter home, DIY, clearing gutters - it could be a very good investment indeed.”