Sales in commercial property nose-dived in the fourth quarter of 2007, hit by tumbling prices and turmoil in credit markets. Financial Times, The Times

The value of transactions fell from £15bn in the third quarter to £5.5bn in the fourth, according to Property Data, an independent data provider. The stalling of activity contrasted sharply with £20.1bn of deals seen in the last three months of 2006.

It was the weakest fourth quarter since 2000. The last time quarterly sales fell below £5.5bn was in 2002, during the traditionally quiet first three months.

'The market has basically frozen since the middle of the third quarter,' said a spokesman for Property Data.

He added that the last quarter was traditionally the busiest as funds needed to use up cash before the year end. The main reason for the fall in activity was a dearth of overseas investors. They spent just £1bn in the last quarter, down from £6bn in the third.

Central London was hardest hit area as transactions dropped from £6.7bn in the third quarter to just over £1bn in the fourth.