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LONDON-The trend towards shorter occupational leases is likely to accelerate, according to new research from Chesterton. As part of its 20:20 Vision research project the firm polled over 500 property professionals on a range of issues, and 81% agreed that ‘Leases of five years or less will be commonplace’ by 2007.

One respondent said “Tenant customer service is the major challenge facing the industry – landlords will reluctantly succumb”

And on other issues, 81% of property professionals expect Britain to have signed up for the euro by 2007. And a similar majority expects technology to transform aspects of the property industry with 86% agreeing that, ‘Rent collection will be automated through online banking’ by 2007. In a similar vein, an overwhelming 89 percent agreed that, ‘Banking and mortgage arranging will be done electronically’.

But respondents were less confident about the use of technology in the retail sector. Only 9% agreed strongly with the assumption that, by 2007, ‘The majority of purchases will be made over the Internet’.Chesterton’s Marketing Director, Graham Downie, said: “The survey was undertaken in order to fuel the debate about how people will be occupying and investing in real estate in the future. The results don’t necessarily reflect the Chesterton house view but they do show that radical reform is on its way.”

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