What the referendum means for property & business in Scotland

September, 2014

Regardless of where the ballot paper was crossed on Thursday, a momentous decision has been made that will have a considerable impact on the Scottish property market. It’s important now to put aside the contentious nature of the referendum, take stock and focus on the positives.

Perhaps one of the most beneficial outcomes of the referendum is the lifting of the veil of uncertainty which has impeded the growth of many businesses across all sectors. Focusing on the property industry, senior figures have conceded that in the months before the referendum, both buyers and sellers stuttered and hesitated creating a noticeable slowdown in enquiries. In some respects this was a natural reaction. Now that a decision has been made (albeit with a number of devolution issues), it is hoped that we can look forward and progress.  Indeed, promising signs have been visible already and exemplified by the positive reaction of the securities and currency markets, and a general improved business sentiment upon hearing the result of the referendum. Whilst this is undoubtedly reactive and by no means a complete forecast of Scotland’s economic future, it does hint at a favourable environment in which to buy and sell property.

This is particularly true for the commercial real estate market which is so intrinsically linked to the wider macroeconomic climate and bears the brunt of uncertainty. Given the often higher value and commitment surrounding commercial property, this has undoubtedly been the biggest causality of the tentative economic outlook. What is apparent from the referendum outcome is that staying part of the United Kingdom will provide greater economic clout and allow commercial transactions to take place in transparent, stable and knowledgeablecircumstances. From a residential perspective the lack of ambiguity and continuation of a stable growth trajectory creates a positive setting where it is hoped that bank lending will remain robust and normality in supply and demand will continue.

It is worth noting that the enthusiasm and vigour generated by the referendum has also placed Scotland on the global stage and was a great advert for the nation. This, on the back of a very successful Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, has really promoted Scotland as a destination country for tourism, business and lifestyle.  It showed the nation in a very positive light and helps present an attractive image for businesses and individuals considering property ventures in Scotland. The future of Scotland has been secured by the campaigns from both sides.  They must now work together to formulate a secure and solid road map addressing key issues highlighted by both sides.  Moving forward Scotland remains a fantastic and attractive place to both live and conduct business.  It now needs to move forward and grow with a solid economic footing, cementing Scotland’s future.

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