EDINBURGH continues to attract buyers to residential properties worth more than £1 million with a new upmarket development securing a number of sales off-plan.

Apartments being built on the 18-acre grounds of the former Donaldson’s College within the Edinburgh New Town UNESCO World Heritage Site are being snapped up, mainly by buyers based in Scotland.

Sales at The Crescent development by Cala Homes (East), which has 11 homes priced from £599,000 to £1.9m, have reached £7.7million six months before the development is scheduled to open with show homes for on-site visitors.

The Edinburgh-based developer has secured eight reservations off-plan from an off-site sales office in a suite at The Balmoral Hotel. It said further sales look likely to be confirmed in the coming weeks, with a lot of interest from downsizers.

Phillip Hogg, sales and marketing director for Cala Homes (East), said that Edinburgh is becoming increasingly renowned as a “property hot-spot”, partly down to the city's thriving financial and technology sectors bringing in investment and wealthier business-people, further fuelling demand for high-end homes.

The development is close to the capital’s city centre on the grounds of the iconic William Playfair-designed Donaldson’s College. The A-listed building was a children’s hospital and school and its most recent use was as a school for deaf children.

Mr Hogg added: “Now really is a great time to be buying a premium home in Edinburgh.”

Early sales at The Crescent come as a recent report showed that Edinburgh has the second fastest selling times in the UK for properties priced over £1m, with supply for homes struggling to match demand.

A report from estate agency Knight Frank last month revealed a 16 per cent increase in sales in the £1m sector in Edinburgh in 2017 compared with the previous year in Edinburgh.

The success of the development comes after Cala Group reported record profits and revenues in 2017 for the fifth successive year. Over the 12 months to the end of June 2017 its pre-tax profits were up 14 per cent to £68.5m.

In March, insurance giant Legal & General Group agreed to a £605m takeover of Cala when it acquired the 52 per cent of the housebuilder that it did not already own.

At the end of April, Alan Brown retired as chief executive of Cala Homes after 32 years with the builder. Group finance director Graham Reid has taken over until a permanent replacement is found.