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A “WALL” of overseas investment is continuing to target Scotland’s “best long-income assets”, according to a report which underlines the recovery of the commercial property sector.

The volume of commercial property transactions jumped by 71 per cent in the second quarter versus the quarter before, with £300 million of deals traded.

While activity is still 30 per cent below the five-year average, as a result of the impact of the pandemic, the second half is expected to be more positive, according to the latest quarterly review by Edinburgh-based Lismore Real Estate Advisors.

Lismore said it understands there are three transactions worth more than £50m combined in the pipeline. Its report found there continues to be demand for space from life sciences companies and retail businesses looking for warehousing, though activity remains muted in city centres.

Chris Thornton, associate at Lismore, said: “Activity in the last quarter has continued to see the wall of overseas equity targeting our best long-income assets.

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“This has included the emergence of American REITs (real estate investment trusts) in the Scottish market, mainly focused on longer-income retail warehousing, with schemes anchored by food stores and value retailers being particularly liquid.

“We have also seen the continual growing appetite for anything close to the life sciences sector. On the downside, city centres are taking time to regain momentum with footfall remaining fickle and retailers and restaurateurs having to work very hard to attract customers back through the doors. Retail re-purposing has started in some of the strongest streets but there remains significant challenges for those city centre locations unable to attract alternative use investment.”

The report flagged “strong impetus” in the Scottish logistics market, where it said speculative developing is “becoming more feasible”.

It highlighted plans by Knight Property Group for a speculative development of 250,000 square feet of high specification and sustainable accommodation at the former Devro site in Bellshill.

By Scott Wright

Source: Herald Scotland

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