The coronavirus pandemic has thrashed some of the country’s most successful businesses as strict lockdown measures take their toll on the economy.
Even the most resilient industries, including beauty, hospitality and motor trades, have been brought to their knees during the pandemic.
Yet there is some positive news throughout the doom and gloom – commercial real estate is still in demand, even during these uncertain times.
Shawn Wood, a solicitor at Watermans Legal, reported the Edinburgh based firm had seen its “busiest year ever” in terms of a demand for commercial businesses.
He said: “We have noted a surprisingly high demand for commercial properties during Covid-19.
“We usually deal with the purchase, sale, leases of cafes and shops etc, and we have noted a lot of activity in this sector, in Edinburgh and beyond.
“The number of new clients and new transactions is higher than last year in this sector and will be our busiest year in terms of commercial property transactions.
“I think people are just seeing it as a good opportunity to invest in commercial property whether it be a purchase or taking over a lease.
“Some clients have managed to secure good deals due to the fallout from the pandemic and are taking advantage of it.
“Interest rates are low so people perhaps don’t want to leave the money sitting in a bank account without it really working for them so buying a commercial property and securing a tenant can lead to a regular income stream as well as capital growth on the building.”
Staff at Watermans Legal, which has been working with commercial purchases, leases and sales for over 30 years, said there has been an increase in business owners investing in deli shops, barbers and takeaway shops in particular.
It is increasingly likely that as old leases expire, businesses will be looking to relocate to takeaway properties that are able to stay open or improve on social distancing measures during the pandemic.
Properties that provide better ventilation and layouts for social distancing could help future buyers of commercial property sale from having to completely shut down during another lockdown.
Amir Fard, a commercial client of Watermans Legal, recently purchased a property at 5 Wemyss Place for his company Ramz Investments in Edinburgh.
He said: “The offer was put in around February or March and I’d recommend people to invest in property during the pandemic because it’s the safest investment.
“You’re buying the location and investing in the history. People might be tempted to swerve the idea of investing in a commercial property because you require a higher deposit and it’s a bigger investment. However, I’d say the potential upscale is a lot greater.
“We’ll continue to look for more investments like this.”