Property demand grows

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AS well as upward movement on the domestic property front, demand for shops, offices and industrial units in the North West increased during the third quarter of the year (Aug-Oct).

The figures are revealed in the latest Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Commercial Property Survey.

With winter fast approaching, nine percent more chartered surveyors in the region reported rises rather than falls in demand for shops. This may not sound like a significant result but while demand is still historically very low, this is the first real jump in interest for vacant retail premises since 2011.

Significantly, every part of the country saw demand for retail space increase with London seeing the most notable growth.

Meanwhile, a net balance of 37 percent more respondents reported an increase in demand for industrial units in the North West (up from 11 percent in Q2), with 28 percent reporting a rise in demand for office space in the region (up from –11 percent in Q2).

This growth in interest has resulted in more chartered surveyors predicting rents in the North West may rise over the coming year.

The survey also revealed the lack of new development starts in the region still remains an obstacle. Chartered surveyors across the region reported the amount of new retail and industrial developments built in the region fell during the third quarter of the year. However, the number of new office development starts increased slightly during August-October (+3 percent).

Chartered surveyor, Andrew Moore of Mason Partners LLP in Liverpool said: “As the RICS survey suggests, the general feeling in the industry is that confidence is returning to the commercial property market.

“Encouragingly more occupiers are considering slightly longer leases compared to say a year ago too.

“The predictions for increases in rents in the North West is a further measure of increased confidence, however the on-going problems with funding preventing new development starts needs addressing in order to help further drive the region’s recovery.”

Simon Rubinsohn, RICS Chief Economist, adds: “The pick-up in the desire to occupy retail space in the North West is broadly reflective of the improved trend in high street spending.”