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Sharp fall in Scottish commercial property market

An analysis of commercial property sales during the first quarter of 2019 from the Scottish Property Federation (SPF) claims that total the value of sales in Scotland fell by 21 per cent compared to the same period in 2018. The drop in value was largely driven by fewer high-value transactions for this period, with the number of £5m+ sales down by nearly one-third compared to Q1 2018.

The SPF analysis shows a 21 per cent (£203m) year-on-year decrease in sales by value in Q1 2019, with the value of commercial property sales in the quarter totalling £763m. The SPF also reported £3.03bn in property sales across Scotland for the last four quarters, the lowest rolling annual total since Q2 2014.

Property data experts at CoStar reported a similar decrease in investment in Scotland in Q1 2019. Investment volumes fell compared to Q4 2018 and Q1 2018 by 41 per cent and 54 per cent, respectively. CoStar points to investment into alternative assets as the key driver of activity in Q1 2019, with below average investment into Scotland’s industrial and office sectors.

Edinburgh bucks the trend

Edinburgh showed a break from the national trend in Q1 2019, with higher values than the same quarter in 2018. The Capital recorded a total value of £264m in commercial property sales, accounting for 35 per cent of the total value of commercial property sales in Scotland.

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

Glasgow experienced a decrease in the total value of sales by £26m (15 per cent) from the previous quarter but rose by £49m on Q1 2018. Nineteen per cent of the total value of Scotland’s commercial property sales in Q1 2019 occurred in Glasgow, totalling £171m.

David Melhuish, Director of the SPF, commented: “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 per cent 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.”

By Neil Franklin

Source: Workplace Insight

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Scottish commercial property market outperforms UK in several sectors

SCOTLAND’S offices, retail and alternatives property markets all significantly outperformed the UK markets in 2018, according to data released by leading property consultant CBRE yesterday.

Their research revealed that the annual Scottish all commercial property total return for 2018 was 5.6%, only slightly lower than the UK all property return of 6%.

Industrials in Scotland also had a strong end to the year, achieving the highest return of the three main sectors.

Office and industrials returns in Scotland have increased year on year, with offices achieving 8.2% compared to 5.9% in 2017, with industrials increasing from 7.9% to 8.6%.

Offices were 2% ahead of the UK figure of 6.2%, while retail returned 4.7% compared to the overall UK figure of minus 1.1%.

Alternatives continued to be the best performing sector in Scotland, and the only one to achieve double-digit returns in 2018, with 10.6% compared to the UK’s 7.5%.

CBRE said that given the current challenges facing the retail sector, it is unsurprising that at year end the outlook remained subdued.

Compared with performance for the whole of the UK, Scottish returns have been more resilient in the final quarter of 2018. At the all property level, the picture is very similar –with UK returns down by almost 1.5% and Scottish returns unchanged.

During the last quarter of the year, £642 million of stock was transacted in Scotland, demonstrating a strong final quarter, and bringing the annual total to £2.49 billion in 2018. This is broadly in line with the £2.5bn achieved in 2017.

The retail sector total was boosted by the controversial sale of Fort Kinnaird Retail Park, located on the eastern edge of Edinburgh, which was acquired from The Crown Estate by M&G Real Estate for £167.25 million, with none of that sum accruing to the Scottish Government despite the Crown Estate being devolved.

David Reid, associate director of CBRE, said: “It’s great to see the industrial and logistics sector in Scotland performing strongly again during 2018 with sharpening yields and increasing rental and land values within prime locations.

“With this backdrop we are seeing increasing developer appetite for speculative schemes and there are a number of occupier pre-lets on the horizon during 2019.”

By Martin Hannan

Source: The National

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‘Encouraging’ 2017 results for Scottish commercial property market

SCOTLAND’S commercial property market showed an “encouraging” six per cent annual total return in 2017.

Data from property consultant CBRE reveals the total 2017 return for Scotland was 6.8 per cent, comparing favourably with the UK’s 10.2 per cent.

Measured by the IPD Quarterly Index, the research found over the fourth quarter, the total property return was 2.1 per cent, up from 1.7 per cent in quarter three. This increase is attributed to improved capital growth, with average capital values up by 0.6 per cent. This represented the bulk of capital appreciation during the year, given the total uplift in 2017 was just 0.9 per cent over the calendar year.

Industrials have been the key differentiating factor in the UK’s relative outperformance against Scotland, with the pace of rental growth in the London and South East industrial markets notably outperforming rental growth in any other commercial real estate sector. However, for some other sectors, the performance gap between the UK and Scotland has narrowed, notably high-street shops and offices.

Office sector total returns for Q4 rose to 2.2 per cent, an increase from 1.6 per cent in Q3, representing the largest quarterly uplift in returns for any of the three principal sectors in Scotland. It was also the highest total return for the Scottish office sector since the final quarter of 2015. This led to an annual total return of 5.9 per cent in 2017, in contrast to -0.2 per cent in 2016. Despite capital value growth throughout the second half, it was not quite enough to reverse the loss incurred in the first half which felt the effects of Brexit.

Total returns in retail saw a slight increase from 1.4 per cent in Q3 to 1.5 per cent in Q4, while the UK-wide figure saw a marginal slip. The annual total return for retail in 2017 was 5.8 per cent, a marked improvement on the one per cent return achieved in 2016. Over the course of the past twelve months, capital growth for Scottish retail has been virtually flat, despite average rental growth on 0.5 per cent over the year.

Once again, industrials were the best performing of the three main sector groups in 2017, producing a total return of 7.9 per cent during the year compared to 4.3 per cent achieved in 2016. Industrials were the only sector to experience substantive capital growth in 2017, with values increasing by 5.5 per cent on average, and rental value up by one per cent over the same period. Like other sectors, growth rates improved during the course of the year. Capital values were up two per cent alone in Q4, leading a quarterly total return of 2.5 per cent.

The industrial markets in Glasgow (14.2 per cent) and Edinburgh (11.6 per cent) were the only two city groupings to achieve double-digit returns in 2017. The market in Aberdeen continues to lag significantly behind the central belt cities, but at 2.8 per cent the industrial sector is now producing positive returns. Aberdeen’s other two sectors remain weak, with the retail sector just slipping into negative returns once again.

Steven Newlands, an executive director at CBRE, said: “These results are encouraging for the investment market in Scotland, where sentiment improved following the general election result last year, which reduced, in investors’ eyes, the likelihood of a second independence referendum.

“It should be noted that Scottish property continues to offer good value to investors and is trading at a discount comparable to properties south of the border.”

Source: The National