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European commercial investments and tenancies drop

Commercial property markets in Europe struggled to keep pace with other parts of the world in the last three months of 2011, according to research by RICS.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ global commercial property survey Q4 2011 says the effects of the global financial crisis continued to impact on investment and tenancies. Rental predictions were in negative territory across much of Europe, with Germany a notable exception.

RICS said the prospect of minimal growth,or even a retreat back into recession, is weighing heavily on the sector in the wake of the ongoing turmoil relating to the sovereign debt crisis.

Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist, said:  “It is no surprise that the fourth quarter results are a little bit gloomier, given the economic news during the period.

“However, real estate in some parts of the world continues to provide significant opportunities. In particular, sentiment remains generally upbeat in many of the faster growing economies even if they are likely to grow a little more slowly in the coming year.

“The survey also highlights the difference in the developed world between those countries that largely shunned the sub-prime credit boom such as Canada and Germany and those that participated in it.’’

RICS found that rental expectations remain positive in eight of the countries surveyed, with respondents in China, Brazil, Russia and Canada amongst those predicting rises rather than falls in future rental values. Expectations for capital values are strongest in the same four countries.

Surveyors in the United States reported the strongest reading for the outlook for future sales.