Economic recovery focus as Scots property deals slump

Published:  06 March, 2013

The Scottish Government was recently urged to work with the property industry to unlock its potential for economic growth, as new data revealed the value of commercial property sales have fallen by over 80 percent since the start of the economic crisis.

Over 150 industry delegates gathered in Edinburgh for the Scottish Property Federation’s (SPF) annual conference to hear how years of low or no economic growth has led to a £5.1bn fall in the value of year-on-year commercial property sales since 2007.

To spur economic growth, the Federation called on the Scottish Government to ensure the following: planning fee increases go hand-in-hand with service improvements, pragmatic climate change regulations are enforced to improve the energy efficiency of homes and business premises, business rates policies are reformed – including the drag of empty property rates on commercial property investors and developers – and new infrastructure investments are supported to boost the economy.

With retail vacancy rates at 26 percent in some parts of Scotland, the conference also discussed the ongoing review of town centres and how the high street might evolve as a place to live, work and play in the future.

Jestyn Davies, chairman of the Scottish Property Federation and managing director of Murray Estates, said: “The wider picture of the low or no growth economy continues to affect the property industry harshly. It is vital that our political leaders understand that this remains a barrier and a constraint on jobs and economic growth in Scotland.

“There is great potential within our industry to contribute to national wealth and indeed to create jobs, improve place-making and enhance the energy efficiency of commercial buildings – but we need the best possible regulatory and tax environment that allows the sector to attract investment and flourish.”

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