Property News - Service charges falling, says Jones Lang study

Service charges for shopping centres are coming down, according to the latest analysis from Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL).

The company looked at 86 centres, covering more than 25 million sq ft (2.3 million sq m), with a total annual service charge bill of more than£88 million.

It found that the average service charge fell 6.94 per cent over the past 12 months, from£3.46 to£3.22 per sq ft (£37.24 to£34.66 per sq m).

The agents found that 33 per cent of the centres surveyed managed to reduce costs by more than 5 per cent during the year. Another 18 per cent of the sample managed to decrease costs by less than 5 per cent.

However, 38 per cent of centres saw an increase of more than 5 per cent on last year's figures, while 11 per cent showed an increase of less than 5 per cent.

According to JLL Shopping Centre Management natio-nal director Richard Davies, labour intensive tasks, such as administration, security and cleaning account for the lion's share of service charge budgets - regardless of the age or size of a shopping mall.

On average, they account for 54.21 per cent of service charge costs, down from 54.77 per cent last year.

Security is the greatest single cost heading for all types of centres, with the exception of open-air malls, where administration represents the greatest cost.