DEMAND for retail space in the East of England fell during the last quarter as economic uncertainty continued to plague the high street, according to the latest UK commercial market survey from RICS (the Royal Instiution of Chartered Surveyors).

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In the three months to September, demand for retail premises across the region declined by 24% and interest has now fallen for two consecutive quarters.

This was coupled with a continued upturn in unoccupied floor space, as a net balance of 33% more surveyors in the region reported increases in availability.

Overall demand for commercial property in the East of England continued to stutter, with 19% more surveyors reporting a fall rather than an increase in interest from potential occupiers, with the ongoing challenges surrounding the economy continuing to weigh on businesses and their appetite to expand.

As a result, surveyors’ expectations for future rents continued their slide, with a net balance of 26% predicting values to fall over the coming three months. Overall rental expectations in the region have now remained negative since the autumn of 2007.

On the investment side, the picture also remained negative in the East of England, with capital value expectations falling once again.

Regional RICS spokesman Richard Pyatt of Hazells Chartered Surveyors in Bury St Edmunds said: “The East of England commercial property market is continuing to roll along the bottom.

“There is some tenant demand for offices at the small end but activity is very patchy and there is no depth to the level of active requirements,” he added.

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