Searches for office space in satellite towns including Coventry, Hayes and Slough rose by 70% in July, compared with enquiries at the beginning of the year, according to new research from EG Propertylink.

The increase in enquiries, as revealed in EG Propertylink’s Occupier Sentiment Report, provides further evidence of how shifting working patterns are impacting occupational decisions.

Outer London boroughs also saw gains, with searches for properties rising from just over one-third in January and February to 45% in July. Croydon in south-east London saw office enquiries jump by 88% in July compared with the start of the year. This was in sharp contrast to central London where Westminster enquiries were down by 20%.

The rate of enquiries for all types of commercial property bounced back in June and July, having plunged to a third of January’s levels in March as lockdown began. The office market has been the slowest to recover, with interest lagging other commercial property sectors.

Interest in retail space also increased post-lockdown despite the well-documented struggles on the high street. Retail enquiries on EG Propertylink were up by 44% in June compared to January. However, government changes to permitted development rights which make it easier for developers to convert retail space to residential are most likely behind the interest