Investors have pulled millions of pounds out of commercial property funds in the past few months as fears of a crash in the sector grow. The Sunday Times

Financial advisers are recommending that people who have made good gains over the past two to three years, and those who have too much money in the sector, take some cash out ahead of a downturn next year although they stress that savers should not panic.

Returns on commercial buildings, including shops, offices and industrial premises, fell by 1.2% last month, according to the IPD.

It was the first fall since December 1992, and the biggest monthly decline since 1989, when the sector was in the early stages of a slump which lasted until 1991.

Capital Economics, a consultancy, is also predicting falls. It believes commercial property values will drop by 12% over the next three years, but warns that they could slide by as much as 20%.