Swindon & Wiltshire Business News

Retail and office sectors hit hardest by pandemic, says commercial property survey


The retail and office sectors have been hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic, according to a commercial property survey by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.

The RICS survey for Q2 of 2020 suggests that rents and capital values are expected to fall sharply across the office and retail sectors during the coming year, whilst 93 percent of chartered surveyors who contributed to the report envisage businesses scaling back their office footprint to some extent over the next two years.

Interest in industrial/warehouse properties is more resilient, although some downwards pressure on rents is believed likely in the near term.

Availability of leasable space on the market has reported to have increased sharply in both the office and retail sectors, prompting landlords to raise the value of incentive packages on offer to attract tenants, whereas there is little change in availability across the industrial sector.

In the investment sector, 46 percent of respondents reported a fall in investment enquiries during Q2, showing the weakest return since the end of 2008. Overseas investment demand also declined across all sectors for a second successive quarter.

RICS Survey contributor Andrew Kilpatrick, of Kilpatrick & Co, said: “Swindon’s commercial market has been becalmed during the lockdown, like the rest of the country.

"Whilst we have managed to rescue most of the deals we had agreed pre-lockdown and have agreed new deals since lockdown, the severity of the impact of Covid-19 on the market remains to be fully seen, but will vary from sector to sector.”