Property News - Research reveals sharp rise in town centre rents

Prime retail rents in Britain shot up 32 per cent on average from 1998 to 2003, according to research from Chesterton.

The biggest increases were in Birmingham and Aberdeen at 62 per cent.

Although no location experienced a fall in rents over five years, growth was slowest in the Southwest and Northeast regions. London's West End recorded growth of 19 per cent over the five-year period.

Out-of-town rent rises outstripped town centre increases, with an average 44 per cent uplift over the five years. The biggest increases were at Edinburgh and Chester, which both saw rents more than double, although rents in Cardiff remained static at£195 per sq m.

Of the regional shopping centres, Sheffield's Meadowhall and Gateshead's Metrocentre saw the greatest increase, with rents rising by more than 40 per cent. However, Lakeside Thurrock saw less than 20 per cent growth in rents, reflecting the competition from Bluewater, which opened during the period. On average, the seven regional centres covered saw rental values rise 29 per cent.