Lockdown leads Cairn Estate and Letting Agency to hit acquisition trail

The lifestyle impact of lockdown as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic has led Glasgow-headquartered Cairn Estate and Letting Agency to embark on an ambitious expansion strategy with the aim of doubling both its turnover and property portfolio within five years via acquisition.

Lockdown leads Cairn Estate and Letting Agency to hit acquisition trail

David Rowand

Last month the firm acquired Stephen McIntyre Letting in Portobello, Edinburgh, following its purchase of Grange Letting just prior to the onset of the first lockdown, adding significantly to its residential letting operation in its east coast office. Both companies have since been rebranded to Cairn.

The acquisitions mean that Cairn now manages a portfolio of some 1300 units, 200 of which are under HMO management, divided between Glasgow and Edinburgh.

David Rowand, managing director, Cairn Estate Agency, said: “Lockdown led many people to re-evaluate their lifestyles and relocate from the city to the country, moving from flats to houses with gardens, and that has benefited our sector.

“Meanwhile, some letting agents are responding to the letting legislation being introduced by the Scottish and UK governments and choosing to exit the market. The most noticeable changes of late have been the emergency COVID-19 procedures which have had a major effect on eviction terms in rental properties.

“These terms are in place until March, though the Scottish Government has the authority to extend these. All landlords and agents are currently awaiting an update regarding this in the hope that this legislation will be eased to help landlords regain control over their rental properties.”

Cairn now employs a staff of 25 and aims to double its turnover to £3 million and portfolio to 2500 units under management within the next five years through its ongoing expansion strategy to acquire independent letting operators.

Mr Rowand added: “We are a hands-on, boutique operation and, with a high rate of staff retention – over 50%of our staff have been with us for more than six years – pride ourselves on our ability to service our expanding property portfolio with a personal touch.

“As such, while we presently concentrate on the central belt, the digitalisation of our operations means that we are now seeking to acquire more letting companies with a portfolio of up to 400 units across Scotland.”

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