Sharp fall in corporate residential property rentals as firms suffer

By Rosemary Gallagher

DEMAND for corporate residential property rentals in Edinburgh and Glasgow is down 50% compared with 18 months ago as the recession has led to job cuts at large companies such as Royal Bank of Scotland.

In his latest quarterly review, David Alexander, head of DJ Alexander, reported that as firms tighten their belts, there is less requirement to take out leases on rented property to accommodate executive staff relocated to Scotland.

Alexander said the reduction in demand had a particularly adverse effect on investors at the upper-middle end of the market, whose properties previously commanded rents of between £1,500 and £2,000 a month from companies willing to pay a premium for above-average accommodation.

He said: "Fortunately for investors, the slack has been taken up by a healthy level of demand for rented property from private individuals."

He added that some landlords are having to negotiate downwards on rent but most are not losing out because, with the exception of those on fixed rates, their own mortgage outlays have fallen sharply in recent months amid the downturn.

Meanwhile, banks and liquidators are appointing estate agents to sell 'distressed' properties when housing developers go bust because they are struggling to shift them in a depressed market.

If a sale is not the best option, agents are offering alternative methods of generating an income from properties rather than leaving them empty, including 'try-before-you-buy' letting schemes. If land has not yet been developed they are recommending alternative uses, such as building hotels or care homes.