The importance of the commercial property sector to the Scottish economy has been underlined by a report suggesting that it supports tens of thousands of jobs.
The Fraser of Allander Institute estimated that it had a direct economic impact of £2.4 billion and was responsible for sustaining 49,000 jobs.
Direct activity includes the building and maintenance of new offices, retail units and industrial sites through to the financing and legal work required for developments to go through.
Looking more widely into the ripple effects of commercial property, the researchers from the University of Strathclyde said that the gross value added to the economy was close to £4.8 billion.
The total number of jobs connected with the sector was put at more than 92,000. The study was released at the Scottish Property Federation’s annual conference in Edinburgh.
However, the analysis also found that the amount of new commercial space was shrinking. In 2009, 7.1 million sq ft were brought on to the market, compared with 1.6 million sq ft last year.
The value of sales has been steadily increasing in recent years: they were worth £3.2 billion in the 12 months to the end of March 2017, but that remains well below the £5.2 billion spent at the peak in 2008 before the financial crisis.
David Melhuish, director of the Scottish Property Federation, which commissioned the research, said: “The industry has experienced challenging times due to the economic downturn and fragile levels of business and consumer confidence which has led to a dampening of growth.
“However, this report highlights that the industry remains an important growth generator for the Scottish economy and that there are huge opportunities for the industry to grow as a valuable financial asset for investors, which in turn will drive economic activity and important infrastructure in our cities and towns.”
Source: The Times
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