Edinburgh tops commercial property investment wish list

The Quartermile development at Lauriston. Picture: Scott Taylor
The Quartermile development at Lauriston. Picture: Scott Taylor
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EDINBURGH is the most attractive British location for commercial property investment outside London, according to a new study published today.

The Capital came out top of a list of ten cities across the UK when investors were asked to rank them on how appealing a prospect they were.

The research by legal firm Morton Fraser found one in four property investors were open to the possibility of investing in Scotland and 11 per cent were actively monitoring or currently pursuing opportunities.

They said the most important criteria for deciding where to invest was the rental yield they could expect to receive.

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Edinburgh was rated “attractive” by 52 per cent of respondents and “not attractive” by 28 per cent, producing a net score of +24.

Bristol was second with a net score of +21 and Manchester third on +4. However, Glasgow, Dundee and Aberdeen did not appeal to the majority of investors, with more rating them an unattractive investment proposition than an appealing one.

Aberdeen was rated the least attractive location for property investors in the wake of falling oil prices and the contraction of the oil and gas industry.

David Stewart, commercial real estate partner at Morton Fraser, cited several developments as examples of Edinburgh’s success.

He said: “Unlike Glasgow, there has been little speculative office development in Edinburgh recently. Quartermile 4 is fully pre-let and the other landmark office development on St Andrew Square is to be wholly occupied by Standard Life.

“Quartermile 3, Capital Square and Haymarket are all under way, but there is a real tightening of supply in the face of strong occupier demand in Edinburgh.

“With large office occupiers already looking to edge-of-town buildings, the good news is that the St James 
Centre retail redevelopment is at last under way. It’s not hard to see why Edinburgh currently presents a compelling case for property investors looking to the regions.”

The study found a vote for Britain to leave the European Union could well have an impact on investment in the short term and such a move was likely to create another period of uncertainty in Scotland because of the talk of another independence referendum.

But it said that despite the “potential for ripples”, investor appetite remained.

And it concluded that there were reasons for optimism on the future of the Scottish real estate industry.

Gavin Barrie, leader of the city council’s economy committee, said he was delighted Edinburgh had been ranked at the top of the list of investment locations.

And he said the city was “alive with interest” from companies wanting to invest here.

He added: “We have major investment going into the St James Quarter, the New Waverley scheme, the 
Haymarket development and the continuing development at Fountainbridge.

“I have any number of people coming to speak to me about opportunities to invest in all kinds of developments –housing, office and retail.

“And people recognise it’s a great place to be in, live in and invest in.”

ian.swanson@edinburghnews.com