Lancashire specialist commercial property consultants Robert Pinkus & Co said the final quarter of 2013 was the busiest it had experienced for several years and the strength of the market has continued into 2014.
The firm reported a 40% increase in enquiries made to its Preston-based office in the first two weeks of 2014 compared to the same period at the start of 2013.
Danny Pinkus, partner at Robert Pinkus & Co, said: "Confidence is starting to return to the market and we are feeling optimistic about 2014's prospects. Not only have we had one of the busiest quarters in recent years, we are experiencing an increase in enquiries from companies who have been holding back selling their property, but are now thinking that the time maybe right to get their property on the market.
"This is a crucial and welcoming factor for the sustained growth of the county's commercial property market because as confidence returns, the market needs new property stock to meet the growing demand."
Increases in business investment and planning activity throughout the region will also help to drive forward the commercial market. Projects such as the long awaited restoration of Winckley Square in Preston city centre will help to bolster key commercial areas of the city and renew interest in existing property stock already on the market. Since the news broke earlier this month that the next stage of funding had been secured from the Heritage Lottery Fund for the Winckley Square Futures Project, Robert Pinkus & Co received 10 new enquiries for five properties currently being marketed in the vicinity.
Danny Pinkus continued: "Whilst we don't want to get carried away, we hope that the signs of recovery continue in 2014 and that further supply of properties will come to the market to the demand that exists."