Scottish commercial real estate set to have a solid year
The Scottish commercial real estate market is expected to see a strong increase in activity as pent-up demand from foreign and UK investors hits the market in 2022.
Commercial real estate experts in Glasgow and Edinburgh hailed the high-end opportunities with the return of the office and continue to benefit from warehouses and industrial sites driven by the change in people’s habits and accelerated by the pandemic.
Alasdair Steele, Advertising Manager for Scotland at Knight Frank, said: “It has been an interesting year. One of the main themes discussed was the resilience of the market.
“Everyone has found a way around the challenges of the current pandemic, which is good and will be of great help to us going forward. ”
He added: “There is clearly a huge weight of money that has been raised and that is waiting behind the scenes to invest in real estate.
“We are starting to see it in a number of deals made towards the end of this year.
“I think next year is going to be a very strong year for that reason and I think we’re going to see continued market polarization really where it’s almost like gold mining.
“You have this thin little strip of the market that is incredibly sought after by a lot of buyers, and then once you get out of it it becomes a much quieter market. ”
READ MORE: Historic office building sold for £ 12million
Among the deals in the Scottish capital, two top sites in the city’s financial district were sold with long-term tenants intact, of which 145 Morrison Street, fully leased to Capita until 2030, was acquired for £ 12million from Topland and Exchange Place. One was sold under an off-market agreement.
Mr Steele said: “There continues to be a strong demand from UK institutions for sustainable and secure income streams. There is a lot of money looking after that, that old story of industrial accommodation continues to grow stronger with the kind of change in people’s shopping habits that has been accelerated by the whole Covid pandemic. continued at a steady pace and there is just an insatiable demand for industrial investment from UK and foreign investors and I think this will definitely continue.
An industrial hangar in Lanarkshire, leased to Swedish commercial vehicle maker Scania, was sold for around £ 11million last month.
READ MORE: Lanarkshire warehouse sold for £ 11million
‘UK institutions, for example, are all driven by referrals, so they tend to be relatively comfortable with buying what everyone else is buying, as they are judged by referrals and ratings. , but if you’re a private equity investor you want to see value and it’s very hard to see value in the market that everyone is trying to buy so I think we’ll see some changes and I think one of the things that could get a lot of interest in a business is offices.
“Of course if you look at the price of returns in these markets relative to a lot of Europe, they are good value for money.
“So I think there will continue to be a lot of interest overseas in the Edinburgh and Glasgow offices next year,” Steele said.
Glasgow’s largest office building at 177 Bothwell Street is slated to open in January and the entire building is already rented.
READ MORE: French banking giant welcomes Glasgow office deal
Its tenants include Transport Scotland, which is moving its headquarters there, AECOM, Virgin Money and PNB Paribas, one of the largest banking groups in the world.
Stephen Lewis, Managing Director of HFD Property Group, said: “As I predicted for March of last year, when I expected the demand for office space to decrease by around 15 to 20% overall this demand would be felt more intensely at grade B end of space and it would be a flight to quality and this has been confirmed.
“It is probably still a little early to say whether it has been 15 to 20% in terms of the overall reduction in take-up, but there is certainly a leak towards quality and this is confirmed by the fact that our building stopped working. strongly during this pandemic.
“It’s as much about well-being, sustainability, Covid-resistant buildings, smart technologies, all of these things are what motivates occupants.
“The question occupants are asking themselves is what should we do to attract our staff to the office, so it’s creating spaces that staff want to frequent.
“The wider usage figures in Glasgow are quite strong, supported by 177, but overall usage is stronger than the market predicted at the start of the year and this partly reflects the fact that the economy has held up well, employment levels have held up well and productivity has generally been good. ”
He added: “Outside the city in business parks, occupancy is returning to pre-Covid levels and again the demand for quality spaces is there, flexibility in some cases.
“This is helped by those who want to examine not only the connectivity of public transport, but also born cars and businesses that do not need to be located in the city center are often happy to take up space in the city. out of town business parks as it fits the model so it has held up and been resilient.