Country Spotlight: Scotland

The Scottish economy has been much talked about as of late, my most recent article, for instance, covered the news story of the Standard Life and Aberdeen merger. While the story has been put somewhat on the ‘back burner’, this hasn’t reduced Scottish dominance in the newspapers. It was only earlier this week when Phillip Hammond – The UK Chancellor – hinted that the treasury could be about to sell its 73% stake in the Royal Bank of Scotland, nearly a decade since the original £45billion purchase. The topic has been brought to significant attention due to the potential loss which may be inflicted upon the taxpayer. The UK government invested in the Edinburgh-based bank at a value of 502p, while the share price currently stands at 235p.

However, it’s not all negative news for the Scottish market. Results from the JLL Investment Intensity Index have relieved that Edinburgh has entered the top 5 cities in terms of economic ‘health’ and sustainability – ranking 4th just below Oslo, London and Munich. The index shows the relationship between the volume of direct real estate investment over a three year period and the cities economic size. Historically, the index has created an interesting forecast for future economic growth; the study of which cities are currently performing in the most successful and sustainable manner seems to often pave the way for accurate interpretations for future growth.

There is a lot of discussion on the growing demand for Grade A office space in both Glasgow and Edinburgh. With the demand for office space rising and office investment relatively cheap in comparison to English cities, strong investor interest could be seen from overseas – especially with the weakened sterling. The SBNN reported that, Alison Taylor, Director and Head of Business Space in Scotland for GVA, expects 2017 to be a positive year for the city; “2017 is off to a good start with a couple of key large corporate lettings underway at St Vincent Plaza and a healthy level of enquiries and viewings during January across all size brackets.”

All does seem to be well in the Scottish market, the elephant in the room is clearly the possibility of a second referendum and the varying opinions on how that will, in turn, affect the economy. The likelihood of the second referendum seems to be extremely likely after the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, wrote a letter to the Prime Minister, Theresa May, outlining her intention to create a re-run of 2014. In any event, the outcome of which can be argued in relation to positive and negative outcomes, meaning the long-term effects are uncertain, but currently, the property market remains strong.

Overall I am extremely excited to see how the Scottish market develops over the remainder of the year, and indeed the years to come. We are currently working with a host of exciting practices and property companies in the area and look forward to doing so in the future!

Bradley Flatt, Regional General Practice Surveying Specialist, Foundation Recruitment

Photography - Nick Harrison

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