Fears flagged over shortage of prime office space

Commercial property experts have today called for action to tackle a shortage of grade A office space in Scottish cities, saying there could be major ramifications with businesses forced to look elsewhere.

Grant Thornton said the commercial property sector could suffer if demand continues to outpace supply. Picture: Steven Scott Taylor
Grant Thornton said the commercial property sector could suffer if demand continues to outpace supply. Picture: Steven Scott Taylor

Business and financial adviser Grant Thornton, which has offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen, said that if demand for office space continues to overtake supply, Scotland’s commercial property sector could suffer long-term growth issues.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

It said that in Glasgow, no major new tenant-free office builds are forecast to come on the market until late 2019, “prompting fears that wider political and economic uncertainty has led to developers holding back on new projects”.

The company also cited current market predictions suggesting both Glasgow and the Scottish capital could see rents rise by more than £2 per square foot by the end of this year, adding that slowly recovering market conditions in the North-east “could leave the Granite City facing similar changes to central Scotland”.

Lorraine Macphail, head of property and construction at Grant Thornton in Scotland, said rising demand is a welcome sign of strong Scottish economic growth, but added that a lack of suitable supply in major cities “could have significant consequences”.

“What’s now needed is greater collaboration between political and industry leaders to tackle the immediate issue of office availability, but also to explore how we prevent accommodation shortages from becoming a chronic challenge that inhibits long-term, sustainable growth.”