Competing for investment key as Scottish Property Industry is 'Open for business in Referendum year

Government policy must encourage growth and support investment in a range of new asset classes if the Scottish property market is to maintain its competitive edge and continue to be seen as an industry that is ‘open for business’, delegates attending the Scottish Property Federation’s (SPF) Annual Conference today will hear today.

With Scotland’s commercial market having performed well over the past year, and investment in significant retail developments such as Glasgow’s Buchanan Galleries boosting the sector, speakers will call for political support to give Scottish cities a competitive advantage over others in the UK such as Manchester and Leeds.

In light of research from JLL suggesting that 82% of investors plan to increase their investment in alternative assets, and insurance and pension funds expected to increase their alternative portfolios by 23% and 16% respectively over the next decade, delegates will hear about the role emerging markets such as the private rented sector can play in solving the housing crisis, and how government might best support this. 

Over 200 commercial and residential developers, landlords, investors, lenders and professional advisers will meet to hear these topics discussed by a range of key political and industry speakers at the event sponsored by Pinsent Masons and Bank of Scotland. 

Alasdair Humphery , Director at JLL Scotland and Chairman of the SPF, commented: “We know this is an historic year for Scotland, where the Scottish referendum will choose the destiny of the country, but our key message is that Scotland is open for business and that there is growing  confidence and change in the property industry as the wider economy grows and we emerge from recession. 

“Commercial sales across Scotland  increased from £841m in the first  half of 2013 to over £1.3bn in the second half of 2013 and we have seen significant investments including recently in Dundee at the Overgate shopping centre which  suggests this trend is continuing."

David Melhuish, Director at the Scottish Property Federation, added: “Despite uncertainty over what the future for Scotland holds, the commercial markets have been performing well. It is important that Scotland remains competitive and we need government to recognise this if we want new asset classes like the private rented sector to take off.”

Alan Collett, Chairman of Allsop Residential Investment Management, will say: “Scotland, as the rest of the UK, is suffering from a severe shortage of good quality housing across all sectors, in many locations, and new building for market lets can play a significant role in providing the stock that is so badly needed.

“Financial Institutions such as pension funds are more interested in residential investment than they have been for a generation, so political stability, and a recognition that institutional landlords will enter the market for the long term, is needed from the government if we want this sector to flourish.”

Lester Hampson, Head of Retail Development, Land Securities, will say: “The retail development landscape is changing, and if the industry is to thrive, then we need to keep with an evolving customer base. Consumers now demand a compelling retail experience, and the increased use of leisure, catering and technology services is crucial in servicing this sector. Our plans for the expansion of Buchanan Galleries will involve creating a dominant leisure and retail location for Glasgow”

Kirk Murdoch, Chairman of Scotland and Northern Ireland, Pinsent Masons, added: “The Scottish Property Industry faces more change and choice than ever before. To compete for its fair share of investment it must remain an open and inclusive industry embracing internationalisation and diversity."