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Swip predicts growing demand for office space

Growth in the services industries, including financial serv- ices, will boost the office property sector over the next few years, says Scottish Widows Investment Partnership.

Swip’s latest commercial property outlook says the services industry will account for nearly 82 per cent of UK jobs by the end of the decade, up from 77 per cent five years ago.

Property research manager Stewart Cowe says continued growth in the services sector will offset the decline in manufacturing and lead to increased demand for office space, especially in Central London. He says the West End will see strongest rates of rental growth in the short term, with a forecast of 3.9 per cent up to 2009.

But he adds that the City of London is also showing signs of growth, with an increasing amount of space available for occupation from 2007 onwards, including nearly five million square feet under construction.

City rental growth is expected to eclipse the West End market from 2007 onwards, with annualised 4.6 per cent growth over 2007 to 2009.

Cowe says: “As well as getting a much needed boost from rising employment in the service sector, much of the City and the wider office markets are influenced by the fortunes of the stockmarket. After marking time over the first quarter of this year, we have seen stockmarkets perform well since then, with performance over July and August being particularly strong.”

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