Interest in commercial property from abroad has nosedived since the Brexit vote

Emma Haslett
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Searches for commercial real estate dipped following the refendum (Source: Getty)

The number of foreign companies looking for commercial property in the UK has fallen 40 per cent since the EU referendum, new research has suggested.

Commercial real estate portal Property.Works said while foreign firms accounted for 11.3 per cent of all its searches in the first five months of 2016, that dropped to 6.7 per cent between July and December.

It briefly looked like the decline would be similar with UK-based searches, but sentiment quickly changed after a blip following the referendum. After a 20 per cent fall in UK-based searches between May and June, they returned to pre-referendum levels in July, the company said.

London was the most searched-for city, followed by Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and Glasgow.

Meanwhile, British firms looking for property abroad searched for the US, Italy, Turkey, Serbia and France.

"The commercial property sector is a great proxy for the health and confidence of British, and global, enterprise," said Joe Cohen, founder of Property.Works.

"The data tells us Brexit had a severe negative impact on searches from international locations, as offshore businesses felt less confident about expanding into the UK.

"2017 will demonstrate whether this view persists or whether appetite and confidence revert to pre-referendum levels."

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