Occupier demand for Scottish commercial property rises

Overall occupier demand for commercial property in Scotland rose in the first quarter of the year, driven by strengthening demand for office and industrial space.

The latest Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Commercial Property Monitor showed a net balance of 11% of surveyors in Scotland noted a rise in overall demand for commercial property; the highest this balance has been since the second quarter of 2022, and the second highest balance across all UK regions, after central London.

Occupier demand for both office and industrial space saw a rise – net balances of 17% and 33% respectively – and both were stronger than in the previous quarter.

Occupier demand for retail space remained in negative territory, with a net balance of -17% of surveyors reporting a fall. However, this was an improvement on recent quarters.

Overall investor demand remained in negative territory for the seventh consecutive quarter, with a net balance of -16% of surveyors in Scotland reporting a decline.

A net balance of -30% of respondents noted a fall in investor demand for office space, and a net balance of -35% in demand for retail space.

The industrial sector continues to outperform the other sub-sectors, with a net balance of 17% of Scottish respondents indicating demand had increased.

On rental expectations, surveyors in Scotland are more optimistic than they were on the outlook, with a net balance of 21% anticipating a rise over the next quarter.

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