Commercial property sales fall 21% to £763m in Q1

Edinburgh's financial district

Scottish Property Federation (SPF) analysis of commercial property sales during the first quarter of 2019 reveals that total the value of sales in Scotland fell by 21% (£203m) to £763 million compared to the same period in 2018. 

The SPF also reported £3.03 billion in commercial property sales across Scotland for the last four quarters, the lowest rolling annual total since Q2 2014.  

The drop in value in the first quarter of 2019 was largely driven by fewer high-value transactions for this period, with the number of sales of £5 million or more down by nearly one third compared to Q1 2018. 

Edinburgh showed a break from the Scottish national trend in Q1 2019, with higher values than the same quarter in 2018.

The Capital recorded a total value of £264 million in commercial property sales, accounting for 35% of the total value of commercial property sales in Scotland.    

SPF director David Melhuish said: “The sales report for Q1 2019 shows a clear fall in total value of commercial property sales compared to the previous year.

“This aligns with investment data suggesting a subdued start to 2019 for the Scottish commercial property sector. 

“However, the sales data does underline the current strength of Edinburgh’s commercial property market, with the Capital accounting for 35% of the Scottish market by value.

“The investment data also highlights the rise in investor appetite for alternative property asset classes, such as hotels and build-to-rent. 

“For investors, Edinburgh remains a hotspot, while more broadly, low growth and lack of certainty in the economy is weighing down on activity.” 

Aberdeen also saw commercial property sales recover against the previous quarter, with an increase from £14 million to £41 million. However, year-on-year, the total value of Aberdeen’s sales fell sharply by £125 million. 

Glasgow experienced a decrease in the total value of sales by £26 million (15% from the previous quarter but rose by £49 million on Q1 2018. 

About 19% of the total value of Scotland’s commercial property sales in Q1 2019 occurred in Glasgow, totalling £171 million.