One in four companies plans to reduce its property holdings in the next six months according to the latest GVA Grimley and CBI Corporate Real Estate Survey.
Mark Rawstron, senior regional director at GVA Grimley in Manchester, said: "The trend of more firms planning to reduce their property holdings is accelerating, with a significant fall in demand expected over the coming six months.
"Most firms are now feeling at least some effect from the tighter lending conditions and the economic slowdown. Falling business activity and lower demand is likely to increase the property surpluses, which will only push up the cost of paying empty property rates."
The survey of 152 firms, conducted between 27 August and 17 September 2008, revealed a balance of +3% said they had increased their property holdings in the last six months, a slower rate of growth than the previous survey (+15%) and below expectations (+7%). In the next six months, a balance of 24% of firms plan to reduce their property space.
Retail, financial services, manufacturing and leisure are the sectors showing the biggest change in direction.