A leading property agency has said that the market may have passed its lowest point as the rate of growth in high streets voids showed signs of slowing and has even reversed in some areas.
Cushman & Wakefield made the claim as it published its quarterly report into void rates, which shows that the proportion of empty stores has risen by 0.7 per cent to 11.8 per cent nationally.
But, the report says, the amount of empty space on certain high streets has in fact declined as the rate of retail administrations has slowed.
Cushman & Wakefield has said that the figures are “good news” for the retail industry, because all indications are that the rate of void growth is set to slow.
The agency’s head of global retail John Strachan said: “There’s a real sense in the property market that we’re past the worst of it. The difference between the 11.8 per cent and the long term average of 6 to 7 per cent is almost entirely down to administrations, which are slowing.”
But Strachan added a note of caution, saying: “Nobody’s pretending that it’s not very difficult out there. It is.”
The results of are part of the agency’s Available Shops report based on a survey of the country’s major town and city centre high streets and shopping centres.
On a region-by-region basis, the Midlands has the highest rate of voids, with 15.8 per cent of high street shops now empty, followed by Scotland.
The two areas with the fewest voids are central London and the East of England according to the report, although the former has seen the biggest increase in empty shops in the country, a rise of 2 per cent.