Average lease lengths in London jumped last year as retailers battled for prime space, agreeing to longer leases to secure quality sites.

London lease lengths are longer than those for the UK as a whole, where landlords are agreeing to shorter leases in the face of rising vacancy rates.

Data compiled by property consultant Briant Champion Long revealed that the average lease length in the UK was 10.2 years in 2011, while retailers demanded that more break clauses be inserted into new leases. Half of all leases signed now have break clauses, up from 15% five years ago, Briant Champion Long said.

In London, where demand is still strong, lease lengths jumped from 9.8 years in 2010 to 11.5 years in 2011. Last year, some retailers signed 15-year leases.