Commercial estate agency market predicted to shrink further

The UK commercial estate agency market is predicted to shrink this year as economic turmoil frustrates an industry that was finally starting to show signs of strong post-pandemic recovery.

Related topics:  Business,  Estate Agents,  Commercial
Property | Reporter
3rd August 2023
"The rejection of high-street shopping and office-based working creates an existential crisis for the industry"

Industry analysis by the debt advisory specialists, Sirius Property Finance, looked at the annual revenue of the UK’s commercial estate agency market since 2013 to see how it has performed over the last decade, and what that might mean for the future of agents who operate outside of the residential sector.

The data shows that the commercial estate agency market peaked in 2019 when, after enjoying annual growth of 21.2%, market revenue hit £7.3 billion.

In the same year, the number of businesses operating in the commercial agency space increased by 32.1% to reach 7,549, showing that confidence and expectation in the UK’s commercial space was high.

But then the pandemic struck and commercial property entered a period of severe hardship. As a result, the commercial agency market shrunk, with annual revenue falling by -4.4% in 2020 before falling by another -12.8% in 2021.

However, just when it looked like the market was in freefall, 2022 saw growth of 14.9% as revenue exceeded £7 billion and hit its highest point since the pre-pandemic peak.

2022 also saw the number of agents increase by 4.1%.

Despite this promising pandemic recovery, the more recent economic turmoil engulfing the UK property industry is expected to cause the commercial market to shrink once again.

Forecasted figures point towards a revenue decline of -5.6% in 2023. Despite this, the number of businesses operating in the space is expected to rise by 2.3%.

Head of Corporate Partnerships at Sirius Property Finance, Kimberley Gates, commented: “Commercial property is experiencing a moment of transformation unlike anything that’s really come before.

"The rejection of high-street shopping and office-based working creates an existential crisis for the industry. Throw a heightened level of economic uncertainty into the mix and you’ve got a difficult period for the market to navigate.

"But while the short-term outlook isn’t great, we don’t expect the decline in commercial sector activity to be long-lived. This dip will very soon reverse itself and commercial agents will see an uptick in revenue.

"Not only are the UK’s high streets destined to be transformed into mixed-use havens of work, rest, and play, but the warehousing and distribution side of commercial property is only going to get bigger and bigger as online retail continues to thrive.”

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