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LONDON-Available industrial floorspace is now 13.7 per cent higher than at the end of 1999 according to a research document published today by King Sturge. The company’s Industrial Floorspace survey has recorded a jump of 7.7 per cent of unoccupied stock since last December and over 10 per cent up on the same time last year. There is currently 14.6 million sq ft of empty industrial property in England, Scotland and Wales.

Despite the apparently pessimistic nature of the figures David Brooks, national industrial partner at King Sturge, said, ‘The position has remained fairly constant over the past three years and compares very favourably with the end of the last building boom in the early 1990s when 23 per cent of all space available was newly constructed. As at April this year, newly constructed space accounted for under seven per cent of total space available in Great Britain.’

Brooks also discounted any close tie-in between the continuing poor performance of the manufacturing sector and an increase of industrial availability. ‘In general, industrial property demand is increasingly related to requirements for distribution rather than manufacturing,’ he said.

City economists said that the recent downturn has hit all sections of manufacture, but has been driven largely by problems in the optical and electrical sectors which produce items like personal computers and mobile phones. Yet because of a surge in the service and retail sectors industrial rents have moved on average by four per cent over the 12 months to May this year, the strongest growth being in London which jumped 6.3 per cent.’The market does not appear to be badly out of balance,’ said Brooks. ‘If the economy grows by two per cent or more this year, the industrial investment market should continue to perform well.’

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