Iain Mercer: Looks like another property peak

Iain Marcer is the director of Commerical Agency for Allied Surveyors plc
Iain Marcer is the director of Commerical Agency for Allied Surveyors plc
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The commercial property market in Edinburgh is currently a hot ticket.

Record levels of office uptake, foreign investment pouring into the city from all corners of the globe and unprecedented interest from hoteliers and restauranteurs thanks to the booming tourism sector.

It is against this backdrop that only last week I opened the doors of Allied Surveyors Scotland’s first east coast commercial agency office.

Situated in a townhouse on Walker Street in the capital’s west end, for me it is a return to the Georgian New Town where my property career started back in 2001.

In those days I was with a small surveying practice called Wright and Partners having just made a 360-degree career change from a fledgling but burgeoning radio broadcasting career.

But property and real estate in general was in my blood from a young age and the chance to follow in the footsteps of my late father was too good an opportunity to turn down.

In the 1980s and 90s he dominated the streets of Edinburgh with innovative development projects way ahead of their time, whilst also converting townhouses from residential into much-needed office space.

Now the pendulum has swung the other way with companies gradually swapping their traditional offices for glitzy Grade A accommodation as long-term leases expire. Like many things in life the property market is cyclical; the trick is predicting the peaks and troughs.

In the last 17 years, then, like many others of my generation, I have experienced a steep upsurge through the early to mid-noughties, a clattering and catastrophic downfall in 2008 followed by a deep recession and now a steady but accelerating recovery.

Certainly, Edinburgh feels like it is in its own bubble again and speaking to developers and investors there is certainly a lot more competition around.

Property still offers an attractive proposition to invest cash when the returns can potentially be far greater than sitting in a bank or savings account.

And Edinburgh has all the underlying fundamentals you would look for given its skilled workforce, high quality of living and some of UK’s most sought-after universities.

With a network of 32 offices and over 160 employees, Allied Surveyors is one of Scotland’s largest surveying practices.

There is not a single postcode in the country the firm doesn’t cover with professional services from home reports to commercial valuation to building surveying.

The opening of my new 
office in Walker Street, where the firm was already 
based, completes Allied’s network of commercial agency and I am relishing the prospect of giving it a fresh and energetic vision.

Iain Mercer is Director of Commercial Agency (East) for Allied Surveyors Scotland plc