Rics reports ‘stuttering’ demand for commercial property

October 12th, 2012 Category: Building Management

Demand for commercial property in Britain is continuing to "stutter", experts have warned.

According to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), the number of surveyors witnessing a drop in demand during the three months to September outweighed the number who saw a rise throughout the same period.

RICS believes this shows that ongoing economic difficulties in the UK are affecting sentiment among businesses, which means many are reluctant to expand their operations.

This is proving to be a particular problem in the retail sector, as demand for retail premises dropped by almost one-fifth between July and September.

As a result, interest in this type of commercial property has now declined for five quarters in succession.

Simon Rubinsohn, chief economist at RICS, is not surprised by this development, as he believes the retail sector is "still struggling to find its feet".

"Fewer companies looked to take on new premises last quarter and consequentially, the amount of empty floor space continued to rise," he commented.

So if retailers are holding off on their expansion plans yet want to keep attracting customers at a time when they are curbing their spending too, what can they do?

Many are turning towards promotions and discounts to attract visitors, but focusing on the actual quality of your premises could also be a good idea.

Effective building cleaning could considerably improve the shopping experience for customers and potentially encourage more people to shop with you.

After all, nothing can be taken for granted these days, as London's performance in the third quarter demonstrates.

The capital has long been flagged up as a highly resilient market that is still growing, yet even it saw a drop in demand for commercial property between July and September.

Mr Rubinsohn said this is particularly noteworthy, as London has "typically managed to keep its head above water better than most other parts of the country".