INVESTORS are continuing to target deals in the Scottish commercial property market, despite the economic fall-out from the coronavirus crisis.

Derek Nash, partner and head of commercial property at law firm Lindsays, declared that demand has remained “robust” throughout the crisis, noting that the massive shift to home working will not spell the end for office accommodation.

Mr Nash said: “Remarkably, I think it has demonstrated quite a bit of resilience. There has been a lot of appetite for buying it.

“We have had quite a number of instructions that have come in over lockdown where people have taken a long-term view on the desirability of adding commercial property to their portfolio.

“A lot of landlords and tenants have been active as people have looked beyond lockdown; lockdown was never going to go on forever.”

Mr Nash added: “There are people who are looking at commercial property and putting in offers and acquiring. As Scots, we have had so many headwinds to deal with over the last 10 to 15 years, so many challenges, so much turbulence in our economic and political backdrop that a lot of people have just almost got used to [uncertainty]. This is a completely new form of turbulence, but people do not just collapse in the midst of it, and people think this day will pass.”

Some of the biggest commercial property transactions in Scotland last year involved heavyweight investment from overseas. Those deals included the £124 million acquisition of the Standard Life building in Edinburgh by a German pension fund, and the sale of the BAE building at Crewe Toll, also in the Scottish capital, to a Korean investor for £95m.

Sir Ian Wood House in Altens, Aberdeen, head office of energy services giant Wood, was acquired by New York-based investment firm LCN Capital Partners from HFD Property Group for £80m in December.

Asked if there was still appetite from foreign investors to commit to property in Scotland, Mr Nash said: “There is still overseas interest. I managed to get quite a substantial overseas client who has been active, and they just see it as being very attractive.

“They see the United Kingdom as a very benign environment in which to invest because of the robust leases, [and] good quality property.

“From speaking to them, they take a very long-term view of the market. They are not thinking they are going to be in and out in two years.”

Mr Nash added that the political situation surrounding Brexit had not proved to be a deterrent to overseas investors either.

He said: “In a low-interest rate environment, and in a strong lease environment, I think overseas investors still see the United Kingdom as a very attractive investment.

“Clearly the exchange rate is beneficial to that too.”

Mr Nash takes the view the pandemic will not spell the end of the traditional office, even though many businesses and people have been able to adapt successfully during lockdown.

He observed that the home circumstances of people vary greatly, making it easier for some to adapt to working in their domestic environments than others.

And he noted that there are intangible benefits of working in offices that have been missed in recent months, including the ability of younger members of staff to learn by watching more experienced colleagues handle different situations.

Mr Nash said: “People have missed micro-conversations, the informality of it. To organise a Zoom call for that is cumbersome. It is a good way of communicating… but there is no substitute for that human interaction.”

The comments from Mr Nash came as research from property consultancy CBRE found market conditions have started to improve in recent weeks, after take-up of office space fell dramatically in Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Aberdeen in the three months to June.