Ex­o­dus from the of­fice to knock chunk off rents

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - By

Tom Rees

ES­TATE agents are braced for an ex­o­dus from of­fices as a re­mote work­ing revo­lu­tion causes chaos in the com­mer­cial prop­erty mar­ket.

Rents are pre­dicted to fall sharply as com­pa­nies seek out smaller, cheaper sites and there is a surge in em­ploy­ees work­ing from home. Nine out of 10 agents and land­lords ex­pect firms to scale back of­fice space in the next two years, the Royal In­sti­tu­tion of Char­tered Sur­vey­ors re­vealed.

Its sur­vey found that more than half of com­mer­cial prop­erty in­sid­ers ex­pected many of­fices to move out to the sub­urbs amid fears city cen­tres risked be­com­ing ghost towns af­ter the pan­demic. It is thought the suc­cess of re­mote work­ing dur­ing lock­down means many com­pa­nies will not bring all their staff back to work full-time, even when the threat has passed.

Sink­ing de­mand is likely to cause of­fice rents to slide by be­tween 4pc and 7pc in the next 12 months, while re­tail rents could suf­fer de­clines of up to 14pc, Rics said.

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