Property market is strong but cautious

Resilient hospitality sector faces a wide range of challenges

Edinburgh City Cityscape
The UK’s political instability is generating uncertainty, said Christie & Co.

THE demand for hospitality premises in Scotland remains strong in spite of multiple challenges, according to specialist property advisor Christie & Co. The firm’s half-year review, which provides an overview of the property market in Scotland, takes into account trends and issues facing different sectors.

Business rates, Brexit and the continuing debate surrounding Scottish independence were amongst the issues signposted as affecting the hospitality industry in the first half of 2019.
However there are reasons for optimism within the on-trade, the review claimed.
Transactional activity in the regional licensed sector is said to be continuing to grow, especially with regards to freehold pubs, as larger operators look to acquire “high quality pubs with a food offering”.

There is also “reasonably high demand” for small restaurants and cafés, due to low business costs and smaller premiums.

Additionally, hotels with high levels of profit and consistent trading patterns remain in high demand – although political and economic uncertainties were said to have “instilled a level of caution amongst buyers at the top of the market”.

Furthermore, 2016’s Brexit vote is claimed to be making it more difficult to fill positions in the industry, which has been reliant on foreign workers, as wages increase.
Meanwhile, restaurant sales generally are described as proving “difficult to generate interest” due to high wage costs, general operating expenses and business rates.

Brian Sheldon, regional director – Scotland at Christie & Co, said: “The year has started off particularly well for Christie & Co within Scotland and we hope that this continues unabated.

“However, there is still no decision on Brexit and the outcome that this presents, together with the ongoing Scottish independence debate, a degree of caution and uncertainty remains.

“Our sectors are resilient and adapt to changes, whether good or bad, and our sector knowledge and adaptability makes us well positioned to react to any changes and challenges that may come our way.”