THERE was a recovery in demand for office and industrial space in the North East which may show some signs of recovery in the beleaguered high street.
But nationally, the survey only fuelled fears over the high street as a report by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors showed demand has been falling for some time.
It showed a 13% fall in the net balance of businesses looking at retail premises to rent in the final three months of the year, against an 18% fall the previous quarter.
London’s retail landlords saw the heftiest drop in demand since mid-2009, while Wales and the Midlands were the only regions where demand did not fall, according to the report. The North East survived better than most and there were signs of a recovery in the last quarter.
RICS chief economist Simon Rubinsohn said the end of 2012 was “yet another incredibly tough period for the high street” and had been brought to a head by the recent news of HMV, Blockbuster and Jessops, which went into administration this month.
“Significantly, though, last quarter did see demand for office and industrial space increase in the North East. Although, only time will tell as to whether this is a genuine sign of recovery, it is encouraging that appetite is gradually growing in these areas as businesses.”
The survey also found that a balance of 22% more surveyors expected rent to continue to fall over the coming months.
It was a brighter picture for both offices and industrial unit landlords, where demand increased for the first time in 18 months, although rents will be subdued with the amount of available space also rising, the survey found.