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Office values struggle as confidence remains low

Germany is the only European country expecting to see an improvement in the value of commercial property in the first three months of this year

Just eight nations in total had positive expectations of office rental prices in the first quarter of 2012 when surveyed before Christmas.

The poll, by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), suggested UK architects would need to look to the corners of the globe for major commerical work early this year.

Canada had the greatest positive balance between those estate agents expecting a hike in rental values and those fearing a fall. The measure is widely seen as a leading indicator of the demand for new buildings.

After Canada followed the so-called ‘bric’ economies of Brazil, Russia and China.

Germany rated fifth in the optimism league table, closely followed by three countries from the Far East: Japan, Thailand and Hong Kong.

The other 24 nations surveyed  – including 16 from Europe – had negative expectations of rental values in the first three months of 2012.

RICS chief economist Simon Rubinsohn said Germany’s commercial sector was benefiting from eschewing the sub-prime credit boom that preceded the crash.

He added: ‘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.

‘Moreover, the survey 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.’

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