16 October 2019/ rent_commercial_property_guide

Guide to renting commercial property in Scotland

Our complete guide to renting commercial property in Scotland – here’s everything you need to know.

Scotland is the UK’s most northerly territory and is a country in its own right that makes up the northern third of Great Britain’s main island. Though it became part of the UK in the early 18th century, Scotland has many distinct laws to the rest of the country and has its own parliament and government. Around 5.4 million people live in Scotland.

Scotland has been an industrial powerhouse since the industrial revolution in the 19th century but other industries including spirit manufacture (particularly whisky), aviation and energy remain large employers across the country. A number of oil rigs are dotted around the shores of Scotland and offer a major economic and employment boost to the region.

St Andrews University is the oldest university in the country, dating back to 1413, with other world renowned institutions including the University of Edinburgh dotted across Scotland. Scotland’s culture is strong and defining national traditions like Highland dancing, bagpipe playing, kilts and Gaelic music all remain popular across the country.

Here’s our guide to Scotland and its commercial property market.  

Scotland’s population is concentrated in pockets around its major towns and cities.

Large areas of Scotland are sparsely inhabited. The Highlands region, for example, has a population density of 8 people per square kilometre (ppsq) and a small population of 235,000, despite the fact that it covers more than 30,000 square kilometres.

Aberdeen itself has a population of roughly 228,8000, with a much higher population density of 1,257 ppsq. Glasgow city has the highest population of any region in Scotland, at 621,000 and also the highest population density, at 3,549 ppsq. Edinburgh has the second highest population in Scotland, at 513,000, but a much lower population density at 1974 ppsq. The region with the second highest population density is Dundee City at 2704 ppsq, despite a population of just 148,700.

Scotland’s economy is slightly weaker than the rest of the UK.

The average salary in Scotland is reported to be around £30,800, around £6k below the national average. Salaries have increased by around 2.4% year on year, compared to the national average increase of 2.9%. According to research by SPICe (Scottish Parliament Information Centre), Scotland’s unemployment rate is just 3.3%, with 75.9% of people of working age in employment. 74% of workers in Scotland have full-time jobs, while women make up 78% of the part-time work force. Part time workers in Scotland earn the highest salary in the UK outside of London, taking home a median of £10,474 per year. Public sector workers earn, on average, 20p more per hour than those in England, though private sector workers earn an average of 40p less per hour.

In the north of Scotland, workers in Shetland earn an average of £13.43 per hour (£25,800 per annum based on an average 40 hour working week). Those in Aberdeen take home an average of £14.20 (£27,200), while those in the Moray region take home £11.48 per hour (£22,000). Fife’s resident’s make an average of £11.72 per hour (£22,500), while those in Edinburgh have the highest hourly rate, at £14.56 (£27,950).

Glasgow’s residents also have a healthy hourly rate, at around £13.67 (£26,200), but their neighbours in East Renfrewshire have the lowest average hourly rate at £10.26 (£19,700). Close to the English border, people in South Ayrshire have an average hourly rate of £11.86 (£22,800). Their neighbours in Dumfries & Galloway take home £10.44 on average (£20,000), giving the county the second lowest average income.

Scotland’s GBP (gross domestic product) shrank by 0.3% during the second quarter of 2019, though has grown 0.7% when compared to the same period last year. By comparison, the whole of the UK’s growth over the same period was 1.2%, showing that Scotland’s economy has been comparatively slower to grow. The manufacturing sector has been the strongest sector is Scotland throughout 2019, with the Pharmaceutical and Spirt & Wine industries contributing the most to the economy’s growth.

Scotland is well-connected by road, rail and even sea.

Scotland has a good network of roads, particularly around its main cities. The M8 motorway connects Edinburgh in the west to Glasgow in the east, while the M74 runs all the way from Glasgow down to Gretna Green on the England/Scotland border. Other major roads in the south of Scotland include the A68, which runs from the outskirts of Edinburgh to the English border and beyond, the A1 from Edinburgh to Berwick-upon-Tweed and the A75 from Gretna Green to the west coast via Dumfries.

In northern Scotland, the A9 runs from Perth all the way to Thurso via Inverness. The A87 is another major road, running from Invergarry out west to the Isle of Skye. And, connecting Inverness to the north west of Scotland is the A835.

Scotland’s railway network connects major areas of population.Scotland’s seven cities are connected to each other, and smaller areas of the country, by Network Rail Scotland’s services. There are six main railway lines:

  • East Coast mainline
  • West Coast mainline
  • Highland mainline (from Perth to Inverness)
  • Borders railway (from Edinburgh to the Borders)
  • West Highland line (from Mallaig in the Highlands to Glasgow)
  • Edinburgh to Aberdeen line

Scotland’s island communities can be reached by ferry. As Scotland is made up of hundreds of small islands, alongside its mainland, it’s well connected by sea too. Services like the Caledonian ferry, Northlink ferries (connecting the Orkney and Shetland Islands to Aberdeen) and Pentland ferries offer domestic transport, while services also operate between Scotland and Northern Ireland for both passengers and goods. In the past ferries also connected northern Scotland to Norway and Sweden, but these routes were stopped due to high cost and declining passenger numbers.

Scotland has five international airports. These are:

  • Aberdeen Airport
  • Edinburgh Airport
  • Glasgow Airport
  • Glasgow Prestwick Airport
  • Inverness Airport

There are also eleven ‘Highlands and Islands’ airports across northern Scotland and the surrounding islands, which transport people between the mainland and the islands.

Commercial rent guide to Scotland



Average Office Rent (A/B) PSF

Average Industrial Rent prices PSF


Centrally located properties

Out of town properties

Units over 50,000 SQF

Units under 15,000 SQF

















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