Major Hotel Sale Marks Turning Point in Market

by Laura Berry

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

Bell Ingram's Oban OfficeOn behalf of private clients, a leading estate agent has secured its first hotel sale in two years, potentially signalling a turning point in the leisure property market.

Highly respected property agent Bell Ingram has overseen the sale of one of Mull’s most picturesque hotels, after the private buyers obtained financing that had previously proven a major stumbling block.

The Pennyghael Hotel, Isle of Mull, is a six-bedroom hotel with three self-catering cottages, situated in a stunning location on the shores of Loch Scridain.

Despite its potential, it had been available since coming to the market in May 2011 due to difficulties faced by buyers in securing finance.

The sale was completed this week off an asking price of £495,000 after its new owners were given the go-ahead for a commercial property business loan by Bank of Scotland, after their original lender withdrew its support.

The sale was secured by the Oban office of Bell Ingram, a trusted land and property agent managing 500,000 hectares across the UK on behalf of public, private and corporate clients, and increasingly the estate agent of choice in the West Highlands and Islands.

Gregor King, a Registered Valuer and Consultant Chartered Surveyor at Bell Ingram’s Oban office says he is delighted to have secured the deal, which he believes suggests Scotland’s hotel, bar and restaurant property market is showing signs of recovery.

Mr King said: “This is the first hotel sale Bell Ingram in Oban has overseen for at least two years. Twelve months ago this deal would not have been possible.

“However the buyers secured a business loan which banks have been reluctant to offer to this sector in recent years because of the economic downturn.

“This development shows banks are now willing to offer finance on leisure business premises to borrowers able to demonstrate their ability to perform. There are positive things beginning to happen within the commercial property sector.

“Generally, we are seeing a significant increase in the level of enquiries and viewings for hotels and guest houses, signalling a major upswing in activity.

“Bell Ingram still has a number of small hotel and guest house opportunities in Mull and Argyll and our message to anyone who is thinking or dreaming of running their own business, but needs a business loan, is that this is once again becoming possible. For vendors and purchasers, it’s worth persevering.

“Hopefully, if the Bank of England signals that interest rates will be maintained at current levels for a sustained period, and with the economy finally showing signs of real improvement, this will continue.

“Reduced activity across all sectors of the property market over the last few years has resulted in significant pent-up demand. As lending institutions loosen their purse strings and as conditions improve I am hopeful that we will see more of this type of sale.”

Established in 1899 and with its headquarters in Perth Bell Ingram employs 130 staff across 11 offices including chartered surveyors, estate and forestry managers, architects, building surveyors, tourism and green energy specialists.

Bell Ingram is one of the UK’s leading land and estate agents, yet still retains a local touch, with a unique understanding of UK communities, providing a personal service which is tailored to individual client needs.

Public relations in Scotland for Bell Ingram is handled by the expert PR team at Holyrood Partnership, providing strategic communication advice and media relations.

Private: Laura Berry

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