Scots commercial property at £2.5bn for year

Scotland is on track to see in excess of £2.5 billion invested in its commercial property market in 2018, according to Savills.

This year has seen a greater spread of investment activity across Scotland’s main cities, unlike previous years which saw investors focus predominantly on Edinburgh, Savills said.

In 2018, almost twice as many office transactions took place in Glasgow than Edinburgh, and Aberdeen also saw a rise in activity.

Nick Penny, head of Scotland at Savills, warned of a “critically low level of Grade A office supply in Edinburgh and Glasgow …”

Volumes marked a 10% increase on 2017, placing this year 49% ahead of the 10-year average for commercial investment in Scotland, Savills said.

Penny said: “Regardless of Brexit, the simple economic argument around supply and demand of good quality offices is very compelling for Scotland.

“Our development pipeline and general market confidence was paused for longer than the rest of the UK following the financial crash due to uncertainty around the Independence Referendum.

“The result is a critically low level of Grade A office supply in Edinburgh and Glasgow that makes a strong case for rental growth and new development.

“Highlighting this point is the reality that Edinburgh’s development pipeline is now almost entirely pre-let.

“Low yields in Edinburgh reflect the potential for growth and lack of risk however despite the strong level of investor demand for the Scottish capital, a lack of assets being marketed for sale in 2018 as a result of preceding record levels of activity has hampered overall transaction volumes.

“By investing in Edinburgh, and Glasgow, you are investing in a landlord’s market as supply is so limited and with its World Heritage status there will be restricted opportunity to change this dynamic in Edinburgh.

“Meanwhile, in Aberdeen a gradual improving economy and uptick in office activity being led by the oil and gas sector is piquing the interest of those investors looking for value.”

Savills research shows prime office yields in Edinburgh at the end of 2018 at 4.5%, Glasgow 5.25% and 6.25% in Aberdeen.