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LONDON-Office rents in London have risen faster over the past six months than in the rest of the country, according to the Catella regional rental indices.

Catella calculates that prime rents in the West End jumped 17.25% to £85 ($120) per sf, supported by a 7% rise in rents to £60 ($84.60) per sf in the City of London. Other regional centres showing strong rental growth included Southampton with an 11% uplift, Birmingham and Norwich on 8.75%, and Glasgow and Cambridge on 7%.

‘No centre showed a fall in office rents, but it is clear that there may be an easing in rental growth as a result of the slowdown in the technology sector and the US market’, says Catella director Gordon Wood.

The other property sector to perform strongly in the first half of 2001 was out of town retail. Rises of 20% or more have been experienced in Bristol, Manchester and Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Norwich is not far behind with an 18.75% rise. In Bristol, out-of-town retail rents rose from £20 per sf to £25.50 per sf while in the city centre retail rents remained static.

However, some locations did register growth in city centre retail rents. For example, Leeds showed an 8.3% increase, Leicester was up 6.82% and Nottingham up 5%

.In the industrial sector, Peterborough saw a dramatic 20% uplift with rents moving from £3.75 ($5.25) to £4.50 ($6.35) per sf. Rents also rose 11% in Leicester, 6.6% in Cambridge and 4.35% in Milton Keynes. ‘This reflects the fact that distribution from the central locations in England, with easy access to the motorways, is much in demand from occupiers’, notes Wood.

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