The UK’s vote to leave the European Union and slowing growth in the UK economy have had little impact on real estate occupier sentiment.
A survey of 250 companies conducted by law firm Irwin Mitchell found that 93% of businesses in the UK feel no impact from June’s Brexit vote.
The sample of 70 senior decision-makers at the companies found 81% planned to stay in the same premises for the next 12 months.
Rob Thompson, head of real estate in London, said overall business occupiers’ attitudes to their properties had remained “fairly positive despite concerns about economic and political stability following the referendum”.
The result, he said, “flies in the face of the ‘doom and gloom’ merchants”.
He added: “It will be interesting to see if that confidence remains as strong going forward.”
Irwin Mitchell found that 18% of the companies it surveyed planned to relocate or take on more space, an increase on findings 12 months ago, when 13% planned to relocate or take on more space.
However, the figure is down on the 21% recorded prior to the UK’s 23 June referendum.
The survey found less expectation of rent rises, with only 6% of respondents saying they anticipated their rents increasing over the next year.
The figure has fallen from 42% prior to the Brexit vote.
For the first time, the UK north-west region was found to be the most popular area for relocation and expansion, overtaking London.
New industries such as graphene and quantum dots – together with the fact Manchester is now widely recognised as the UK’s second city, with a £28bn (€33.3bn) gross domestic product – is helping the recruitment of young professionals, Mitchell said.
Patrick Duffy, a real estate partner with the firm in Manchester, said the influx of new businesses and young professionals made the north-west region feel like a “credible and cheaper alternative to London as a place to do business”.
The city, he said, was “ripe to be picked up by the next large occupier who wishes to look outside of London for rental value”.