The brave should start developing in regional cities now, despite the 'thin' occupier market in some locations - that's the message from Offices 08

Speaking at Offices 08, Mark Glatman, chief executive of Abstract Securities, said: 'It is fair to say that the occupational markets are thin.

'Corporate occupiers will delay the decision process for as long as they can.'

However, he said: 'Occupiers are looking at the regions. The brave will start to plan buildings now.'

The panel agreed that regional cities could tempt occupiers from London and elsewhere, and stressed that rental costs were not the whole picture.

Helen Holland, leader of Bristol City Council, said that Bristol's 'quality of life' was a major draw, and Mike Whitby, leader of Birmingham Council, said that regional cities such as Birmingham had 'can do' attitudes and would work with developers to get schemes out of the ground.

Harry Cole, group property manager of Western Europe at Electrolux, said that any real estate decision had to be placed in wider business parameters.

He said: 'Locational strategy is drivern from business strategy as to why we are located where we are.'