All sectors boosted

Investment in commercial property rises 50%

Livingston Retail Park
Retail saw a bounceback

Investment into Scottish commercial property rose by 50% last year to reach £2.2 billion in 2021 according to the latest Scotland Snapshot from Colliers.

The figure compares with the £1.4bn recorded in 2020 and is above the 10-year average of £2 billion.

Retail, which experienced a bounce back in investment saw volumes reach £530 million, a three-year high.

There were particularly high levels of activity in the retail warehouse sector – driven by online shopping – which reached £300m, 75% above the 10-year average. 

While shopping centre investment remained almost 40% below the 10-year average it did reach a five year high of £160m – the last four years recorded volumes of below £50m. 

The office investment market reached £640m in 2021, up significantly on the £380m recorded in 2020 but just shy of the 10-year average of £680m. Cross-border capital accounted for around 45% of all office investment by value last year, notes Colliers.

Patrick Ford in the national capital markets team at Colliers Scotland, commented: “Last year we saw a real return in investment activity across all sectors following a quiet 2020. Prime assets such as Waverleygate and Aurora generated strong interest and we’ve seen a competitive bid process return, particularly for well located, best in class office assets such as these.”

Patrick Ford (Colliers)
Patrick Ford: return of activity

The Colliers Snapshot shows that around £340m was transacted in the industrial sector in 2021, up from the £220m seen in 2020 and almost 50% above the 10-year average of £230m. Yields firmed by around 100 bps in 2021 as demand remained strong and supply reduced.

Elliot Cassels also in the national capital markets team at Colliers Scotland, added: “Industrial and distribution remains the best performing sector in the Scottish property market and the rest of the UK.

“With the rising cost of new builds and strong evidence of rental growth, there has been an overall structural change and a high demand for warehousing.

“The rise in e-commerce and the effects of COVID-19 has accelerated this change and has resulted in positive investor demand from both domestic and overseas capital.

“However, within the Scottish market there has been limited prime offerings and the market has been starved of product, with most prime transactions occurring south of the border.“

In the alternatives, mixed use and hotels sector the combined investment total hit £760m in 2021, 50% above the 10-year average for £510m. Appetite for hotels remained strong as did residential investment: in Q4 Vita Group agreed a £47m forward funding of 60 BTR units, 20 affordable apartments and 205 managed student homes on Edinburgh’s Iona Street.

Mr Ford added: “The broad level of appetite, which was followed up by tangible investment into Scottish commercial property last year gives me high hopes for the coming year.

“As travel opens up, we’re looking forward to welcoming capital from Asia and the Middle East back to Scotland, many of whom have a significant amount of capital to allocate.

“Already in January we’ve seen European Private Equity firm, Henderson Park exchange contracts on Silverburn Shopping Centre as investors focus on off-market retail acquisitions, as they have seen an opportunity to invest in modern assets with immediate upside potential.”



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