ANNUAL investment volumes in Scottish commercial property continued their upward trajectory in 2022, despite macro-economic challenges, according to new analysis from Knight Frank.
The independent commercial property consultancy found that £1.66 billion-worth of deals concluded last year, marginally up on the £1.64 billion recorded during 2021 and the highest since 2019’s £2.02 billion.
Overseas investors continued to account for the majority of deal activity, with a 52% share of investment volumes during 2022. The purchase of 177 Bothwell Street in Glasgow by Spanish investment house Pontegadea was a record office transaction in Scotland, at more than £200 million. Property companies were by far the second most active buyers representing 35%.
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Nearly £500 million of offices were traded, followed by industrials, alternatives, and retail which accounted for around £300 million each.
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Glasgow saw the highest investment volumes of Scotland’s three largest cities at £468.54 million. Meanwhile, Aberdeen saw £143.06 million worth of deals – the highest amount since 2019, when there were transactions totalling £204.24 million.
Alasdair Steele, head of Scotland commercial at Knight Frank, said: “Investors have had a lot to contend with this year, between the conflict in Ukraine, rampant inflation, interest rates rising, bond and stock market volatility, and political developments. Yet, despite all of that, Scotland’s commercial property market has continued its upward trajectory from the lows of the initial outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic nearly three years ago.
“There are always going to be challenges on the horizon, but after a particularly difficult period there are grounds for selective optimism for the year ahead. The cost of debt appears to be easing and there is still a deep pool of buyers looking at Scotland, and the wider UK, to invest. Aberdeen has been buoyed by the sustained high oil price, while the deal for 177 Bothwell Street underlines Glasgow’s attractiveness. Meanwhile, Edinburgh’s occupier market dynamics continue to bolster interest in the city.
“Yields in Scotland remain more attractive than many other parts of the UK and continental Europe, giving it an advantage. Liquidity issues are still a challenge for some funds, which will likely mean assets that are typically not on the market may become available for those in a position to buy. Similarly, cash purchasers are in a very strong position going into 2023.”
Ruban Selvanayagam, of Property Solvers Auctions Scotland, said: “There are also interesting commercial to residential (or mixed-use) opportunity as buyers looking to repurpose buildings whilst maximising end value and income streams / yields.”