According to analysis of HM Land Registry data, during the first eight months of 2019 an average of £249m was spent buying commercial property every day in England and Wales.
This is a drop of more than seven per cent compared to the £270m daily total in 2017 and a six per cent fall on the £265m in 2018, said Search Acumen which completed the analysis.
The fall has also hit volumes with 399 commercial real estate transactions on average per day in 2019 between January and August, down five per cent from 420 in 2018, and down seven per cent from 429 in 2017.
Brexit to blame
Search Acumen blamed Brexit uncertainty for the drop, noting the property market was stuttering through a challenging year.
“The effect of Brexit uncertainty on day-to-day commercial real estate business is clear in the data,” it said.
In 2017, the busiest day of the year – 12 October – saw £4.9bn spent by commercial property buyers.
This was 37 per cent more than 2019’s biggest day so far which saw transactions worth £3.1bn completed on 29 July.
And 2018’s busiest day also registered four per cent higher with £3.24bn spent on 26 November.
Furthermore, only nine of the top 50 days from 2016-2019 for commercial property purchases by amount spent have occurred this year, while there have only been five days in 2019 where more than £1bn was spent, compared to 11 in 2018 and 10 in 2017.
Feeling the pain
Search Acumen commercial real estate business development manager Caroline Robinson said the sector was already feeling the pain of indecision every day.
“Our study has likely only confirmed what the industry has known for a while – 2019 has been a year of ‘wait and see’ as more transactions have been cancelled or put off until after the General Election and the Brexit decision has been made,” she said.
“Simply put, less commercial real estate business is being done this year as so much about the country’s economic outlook and future remains up in the air.”
However, Robinson noted it was heartening to see that deals of more than £50m were still regularly completing.
“This tells us that there is still plenty of confidence in the UK real estate sector and that for those who can be a part of such a large scale of development and sale, business is still good,” she continued.
“With indecision likely to remain into 2020, now is the opportunity for firms in the commercial real estate sector to assess how they can be best placed to take advantage of an eventual upswing in the amount and volume of transactions.”