Retail property demand hits lowest level since 2009

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July consumer confidence

Demand for UK retail property has dropped to its lowest level in nine years, as landlords scramble to increase incentives to entice tenants.

According to the RICS UK Commercial Property Market survey, 43 per cent of respondents saw a drop-in demand throughout the first quarter, marking the lowest level of demand since the height of the financial crisis in 2009.

Furthermore, the number of respondents noting an increase in availability in the retail sector rose by 43 per cent in the same period.

On a yearly basis, respondents expecting prime retail rents to rise jumped 24 per cent, rising even further for secondary retail rents across all parts of the UK.

“It has been hard to escape the grim news from the high street in recent months with a whole host of well-known names either closing down or looking to scale back their footprint,” RICS chief economist Simon Rubinsohn said.

“The results from our latest survey of chartered surveyors suggests that this challenging environment is unlikely to let up anytime soon.

“Indeed, the feedback regarding what may be described as secondary retail locations points to further falls in rents over the coming year with landlords under pressure to increase sweeteners to keep tenants in place.

“Indeed, the likelihood is that the more desirable locations will get even more expensive as the change in our shopping habits continues to advance.”

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