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Demand for industrial space is dominating the East of England commercial property sector as interest in retail continues to falter, according to new research.

The Q1 2019 RICS UK Commercial Property Market Survey also reported anecdotal evidence suggesting a lack of movement on Brexit continues to deter investors and occupiers across the board.

Across the sector, demand for the East of England’s commercial property dropped in the first quarter of 2019, being mainly driven by the lack of interest in retail units.

Some 37 per cent more respondents reported a fall in the first quarter of 2019. The rise in online shopping continued to sustain the industrial sector where respondents continued to experience a steady rise in tenant demand.

Demand for the East of the England’s industrial units continued to outpace supply, the report also found. This quarter, respondents reported a fall in the number of available units for sale, resulting in more respondents expecting rents to rise in the coming three months.

The latest survey data also supports recent reports on the number of empty shops on the region’s high streets, as the number of vacant retail units have been increasing over the past 15 months.

Alan Matthews, of Barker Storey Matthews in Huntington, said: “There is no doubt that the uncertainty of Brexit is being felt across the board. I believe the outlook for our region in the medium to longer term is positive but expect to see considerable volatility over the next 12 months and possibly longer.”

RICS economist Tarrant Parsons added: “Trends across the UK commercial property market in the early part of 2019 have continued in a similar vein to those reported last year.

“The industrial sector remains a clear area of strength while the retail sector continues to be challenged by the growth in e-commerce.

“Brexit uncertainty is again cited to be a negative influence on market activity, causing some occupiers and investors to hesitate as they await further clarity on the future direction of policy.”

Source: Insider Media

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