Forget Residential, how About Commercial? -

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With so much emphasis being placed on the turmoil in the residential property markets, looks at developments in the world of commercial property and at what last Monday's Pre-Budget report means for commercial property

It would seem that, as our statistics suggest and other industries have long accepted, anything can be sold on the web and everybody uses it

Whilst Monday's Pre-Budget report fell short of promising what the housing industry had been calling for, it did include a lot of changes that will impact the UK property market.

The commercial property world has long been saying that the Government risks causing 'long-term damage' to the economy if it did not announce a review of empty rates in the report.

Some of the biggest names in the commercial sector have criticised the Government after it scrapped the relief enjoyed by retailers, offices and manufacturers on empty property taxes in April of this year, meaning businesses have to pay tax on a building if it is vacated for more than three months.

The tax has been labelled the 'Bombsite Britain' tax by critics because many businesses have chosen to demolish empty buildings instead.

In answer to their calls, Chancellor Alistair Darling has scrapped empty property rates for commercial properties with an estimated value of less than £250,000 - which he says represents around 70 per cent of empty commercial buildings in the UK.

The change will take effect from the financial year of 2009/10 - April next year and at the moment is only temporary. The exemption will apply for properties with a rateable value of less than £15,000.

Still, the changes are not as far reaching as many had hoped for.

£15,000 rateable value equates roughly to £20,000 annual rental value, according to rating experts - which means the exemption only applies for properties worth less than around £250,000 at most.

The scrapping of empty rates relief has come at a time when demand for commercial property tumbles in the downturn. The latest figures from the Investment Property Databank showed commercial property capital values decreased by 4.3 per cent in October, the largest monthly fall in the 22-year history of the index.

But, as we head towards the end of November, the commercial sector is on the road to recovery, according to Miranda Munn, Managing Director of commercial property search engine, NovaLoca.

In October, there was a 27 per cent fall month-on-month in enquiries, for all types of commercial property, generated through

However, since early November enquiries have returned to near-normal levels. "It would seem that, as our statistics suggest and other industries have long accepted, anything can be sold on the web and everybody uses it," Ms Munn notes.

Agents have continued to market larger commercial buildings, with a large proportion of leads generated for buildings of 4,000 square foot or larger.

For more information on commercial properties and the market in general, please visit
Notes to editors: is a property website that was founded in 1999 as an online resource for buying, selling and learning about property. It now receives as many as 300,000 visits per month and advertises over 50,000 properties in nearly 90 countries, which are listed by over 500 partner organisations.

For further information as well as images and interview possibilities, please contact:

Dan Johnson
Managing Director
0207 952 7650


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Jon Moore
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