Demand for commercial property turned positive in the fourth quarter, the first rise for nearly three years. The relatively small increase in new sales/lettings of floor space was mainly attributable to growth in the office market, while growth in retail property activity maintained a weak pace. Declining demand for industrial premises, moreover, looks to have stabilised.
Demand for offices in London largely drove the return to growth in Q4, as well as the accompanying surge in enquiries for new floor space. A significant and sustained rise in the stock market and a modest economic recovery has stimulated business activity, particularly in the capital. This has spurred higher take-up of commercial premises, though the increase in sales and lettings is emerging from a low base following a prolonged period of decline.