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LONDON-For the first time in over two years, there are signs of a recovery in demand for commercial property according to the latest survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. Confidence appears to be moving towards positive territory with only 2% more chartered surveyors reporting a fall in new sales and lettings of business property than reported a rise during the third quarter. This compares to an average of 12% over the preceding five quarters.

The survey colcludes that while the outlook for business rents remains generally flat; the rot appears to have stopped. It also forecasts a modest increase in activity in the retail property sector over the next three months.

But the odds are still stacked in the occupier’s favour with tenants experiencing favourable lease lengths and terms as landlords seek to keep premises filled. Recovery may also be hampered by the Treasury’s plans to increase taxes on business tenants.

RICS chief executive Louis Armstrong commented: “This quarter we have seen some encouraging signs.” He added: “It is too early to say we have turned a corner, but it looks like we are approaching the corner at least.”

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