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Pre-Brexit uncertainty leads to drop in retail property moves

Pre-Brexit nerves have led to a sharp fall in retail and leisure property moves, the Local Data Company (LDC) has found.

Overall activity levels in the sector dropped 46% in July, compared with the year before.

There was a minor increase in shop vacancy rates in July – from 12.3% in June to 12.4%. The shopping centre vacancy rate dropped by 1.6% year on year to 13.3% in July 2016. There was also a 3.5% drop in the number of new units during July and a 44% drop in vacant units acquiring new owners compared with the same period last year.

The slowdown was attributed to major property and development decisions being delayed by companies until after the Brexit referendum on June 23.

Matthew Hopkinson, director at LDC, said: “July’s numbers are significant when you look at the 12-month view and see what impact the political and consumer volatility has had over the last two months. The net result has been a freeze in normal activity levels which are mirrored in many other areas of the economy.”

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