A survey suggests that an increasing number of firms have started relocating parts of their business this year due to Brexit.
The quarterly commercial property survey of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) conducted on its members discovered that 33 percent of its respondents had seen some signs of firms looking to move at least some of their operations in the first quarter of the year.
That represented a sharp increase in both the third and fourth quarters of last year when the percentage of respondents noticing company move plans stood still at only 24 percent.
A narrow majority of 52 percent of the respondents believe that the relocations will actually go ahead.
The report of the most recent survey added: “Of course, whether or not firms do decide to relocate will still depend on how the negotiations unfold from here on.”
So far, huge British firms that have relocated include Lloyd’s of London, which recently set up Lloyd’s of Brussels and moved employees from its famous UK home.
RICS also says that anecdotal evidence implies that “a lack of movement on Brexit continues to deter investors and occupiers across the board.”
The figures of the RICS suggest that the demand dipped for commercial property overall in Q1 of the year.
However, while the demand for retail space declined and office demand was stable, the demand in the industry for space was on the up.
RICS infers that the figures reveal that businesses may still be looking for warehouse space as Brexit looms.
Meanwhile, the grim retail figures – with the number of vacant units edging up for the last 18 months – are considered as an alarming sign for the sector.
Retailers seem to be having to fork out for incentives to attract new clients, with 48 percent of RICS members reporting an increase in inducements that are used by retail landlords.