SCOTLAND has had its worst commercial property quarter in a decade and the decline was steeper and faster than during the global financial downturn.

Scottish Property Federation analysis of the latest commercial property sales figures from Registers of Scotland reveals that at £285 million the total value of commercial property sales for April to June dropped 43 per cent on the first quarter of the year and 54% compared to the same period last year.

The figures reflect that second quarter activity was heavily affected by the coronavirus crisis and restrictions on property transactions and registrations.

Glasgow and Edinburgh, Scotland’s two largest cities, both saw a dramatic decrease.

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Edinburgh recorded the highest value of sales for Scotland, with £91m transacted over the quarter, significantly down on both the previous quarter and in 2019, which saw sales of £126m and £108m, respectively.

Glasgow also saw activity affected heavily by Covid-19, with total sales of £24m, which was £148m, or 86%, down on the second quarter of last year.

David Melhuish, SPF director, said: “While reduced activity in the commercial property market was expected for this quarter, these figures indicate a much deeper and more rapid fall than we saw even at the time of the financial sector crisis in 2008-9.

“The extent of the fall in sales reveals a weakened wider economy, and consequently a reduced level of investment activity. The commercial property sector is facing a perfect storm of loss of income, minimal market activity and increasing liabilities in the form of empty property rates as businesses close stores or delay office moves.

“Unless we see a return to a sustainable level of business activity, the sector will struggle to produce the new buildings and places for a modern workforce, or to provide the quality property investments sought by long-term investors that provide reliable income returns for pension and life funds.”