Boss of Edinburgh-based estate agent forecasts surge in investor interest

A surge in activity in Scotland from property investors is being predicted as a wave of rental homes come on the market in the wake of the pandemic, according to a property expert.

'We know that there are people who have been waiting for the right opportunities to invest,' says Wood. Picture: Jon Savage.

Chris Wood, co-founder of Portolio, which says it is Scotland’s only specialist estate agency for landlords, said the firm had handled double its average number of inquiries from owners looking to sell properties during July – its highest-ever levels.

Wood believes that trend will accelerate in the months ahead but will be matched by investors looking to buy tenanted properties as the market recovers from lockdown disruption.

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The MD of the Edinburgh business said: “For so many landlords to be coming to us looking to sell in July is unusual, but there are many reasons at a time like this that people would be looking to release equity and, conversely, ensure they invest in the most effective way to secure the best possible return.

“All the signs are that we are poised for a spike in interest from investors looking to buy. As we reach the end of the school summer holidays and people have more personal capacity, we expect buyers to come back in their droves. We know that there are people who have been waiting for the right opportunities to invest.”

The firm claims to be the only estate agent in the country to focus solely on selling tenanted properties from landlord to landlord. It says its model ensures that sellers maintain their rental income until the day of sale and that buyers receive rental income from the first day of ownership.

Advantages

Wood said: “At a time when it has rarely been more important to make the most of the assets you have, the financial advantages of selling and buying properties with tenants in situ are fantastic. For the seller, there is no loss of rental income, the buyer collects rent from day one and the tenant has no disruption.”

Wood said the extension of legislation requiring that tenants receive six months’ notice makes the firm’s business model more relevant. In April, the Scottish Government brought in new rules on privately rented properties as part of emergency coronavirus legislation.

The rules, which will be in place until at least 30 September, will mean that in most circumstances landlords must give tenants at least six months’ notice before starting legal proceedings to evict.

However, the notice period may be reduced to three months in a few specific cases, such as where a landlord needs the property back to live in or because of anti-social behaviour or criminal activity. Portolio was launched by former letting agency owners Wood and Ross MacDonald in 2017.

It operates across Scotland, but particularly in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee and Aberdeen. The business was accepted onto the RBS Entrepreneur Accelerator programme last year.

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