Demand for offices and shops has fallen at the fastest pace on record, spelling further trouble for commercial property landlords struggling to find tenants in worsening economic conditions.

The RICS says today that more than 70% more of its members reported a fall than reported a rise in occupier demand in the fourth quarter. This marks a significant jump from the third quarter, when just over half saw a fall.

Most of the headline indicators of commercial property performance tracked by RICS fell to their lowest levels in the survey’s 11-year history in the fourth quarter, with particular pessimism in the retail sector where almost four-fifths of surveyors reported a fall in demand.

The findings add weight to the anecdotal evidence that many retailers are looking to cut store numbers and reduce property liabilities as consumer spending slows. The rising number of retailers going into administration has left landlords with empty shops and offices.

Financial Times, The Times