Scottish Daily Mail

Fears over break-up ‘threaten vital property deals’

- Daily Mail Reporter

A STRING of major investment deals in Scotland may only go ahead if there is a No vote in September, according to property chiefs.

The Scottish Daily Mail has learned that firms have inserted clauses that allow them to tear up contracts should the nation become independen­t.

Thousands of future jobs in the constructi­on industry and markets such as retail and finance could be lost as a result.

Estate agents have also revealed that property deals at the top-end of the residentia­l market are being put on hold until after the referendum.

Jamie Macnab, director at Savills Edinburgh, said one prospectiv­e buyer recently withdrew an offer after deciding to wait until September’s result is known. He added that the residentia­l property market was ‘very heavily dependent on a No vote’ and sales of Scottish homes to buyers from London had been ‘suppressed’.

One senior insider involved in commercial property and land sales in Scotland said: ‘There are a lot of offers going in that are subject to a No vote.

‘Conditions of the sale are explicit, allowing firms to renegotiat­e or simply walk away if there is a Yes vote.

‘Firms want to hedge their bets and they will have a different view of the deal if Scotland becomes independen­t. It’s happening in both the commercial and residentia­l sector: land deals and investment deals.’

Mr Macnab said he knew of one big investment decision that included such a clause in the missives.

‘Uncertaint­y is not good for the market,’ he said, pointing to unanswered questions over currency and the mortgage system. Mr Macnab said evidence from estate agents suggested that rich potential buyers from England, mainly London, were delaying investment in Scotland, and sellers north of the Border were also waiting until after the referendum.

Last night, a spokesman for the pro-Union Better Together campaign said: ‘This is yet another interventi­on from experts confirming the big risks with separation.

‘Whether it’s on the pound or our EU membership, the failure of the Nationalis­ts to give honest answers is causing huge uncertaint­y.’

The revelation comes just a day after Keith Cochrane, chief executive of engineerin­g giant the Weir Group, warned that a separate Scotland would face a ‘substantia­l hiatus’ in future investment.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: ‘There has been significan­t growth in the commercial property market over the past year.

‘Inward investment in Scotland as a whole in recent years is among the highest in the whole of the UK, and people continue to invest in Scotland’s homes, offices and industrial sites, demonstrat­ing rising confidence among businesses.’

 ??  ?? Warning: Jamie Macnab of Savills
Warning: Jamie Macnab of Savills

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