Highland sales pick up pace


THE market for accommodation businesses in the north of Scotland has picked up pace in the last two months, according to agent ASG Commercial.

The Inverness-based property firm has reported a “resurgence” in commercial property sales, completing deals for four hospitality businesses and putting a further five under offer. Recent sales include Millcroft Hotel in Gairloch, the Richmond Arms Hotel in Tomintoul, Craighurst Guest House in Keith and the Central Hotel in Thurso.
Paul Hart, head of commercial sales at Inverness-based ASG, said the Highlands and islands continues to appeal to those seeking to buy a business in the hospitality industry.
But despite the recent upturn, Hart warned that conditions in the licensed property sector are likely to remain “difficult” in the longer term.
“Given that the economic downturn has continued for over four years and many analysts indicate matters will not improve greatly in the near future, we must realign our thinking and business operations to this on-going and challenging environment,” he said.
With property values generally down across the board and bank lending for trade businesses expected to remain challenging, ASG Commercial said sellers “need to accept the reality of the situation”.
Andy Gray, commercial agent at the property company, said non-standard disposals could become more commonplace.
“In recent transactions some vendors have provided a degree of self-financing of their sale; this is possible where there is no immediate or pressing requirement to take the full capital value from the property,” he said.
“Alternatively, a leasehold transaction in lieu of a freehold sale may suit the vendor, possibly providing an option to purchase.”

Image: The Millcroft Hotel in Gairloch is one of four recently sold by the Highlands-based agent.