In the poorest reading since 2008, some 85% more respondents expect retail rents to decline, rather than rise, in the coming three months.

In the office sector, a net balance of -62% of respondents are predicting a further fall in rents, worsening from a balance of -24% in the previous quarter.

The findings in the RICS UK commercial property survey are the latest signs of a deterioration in sentiment across several major sectors of the real estate market, with the economic fallout denting demand from tenants and business.

Some 93% of respondents envisage businesses scaling back their office footprint over the next two years as people move to home working.

A net balance of -55% of respondents also reported a decline in occupier demand.

The decline in tenant demand was most felt in retail and office space, with net balances of -86% and -79% respectively.

However, a fall was also seen in demand for industrial units, with 13% more respondents seeing a decline, marking the first time that the industrial series has seen a negative response since 2012.

Tarrant Parsons, RICS Economist, commented: “The latest survey feedback unsurprisingly reflects the significant disruption and uncertainty that emerged across the economy during the lockdown period. With demand from both occupiers and investors falling sharply, respondents now anticipate rents and capital values will come under downward pressure while the market adjusts to a drastically changed economic environment.

“In particular, the recent shift into remote-working raises many questions across the office sector, with respondents expecting businesses to re-evaluate their office space requirements over the next two years. On a brighter note, the outlook is already showing signs of recovery across industrial sector, which remains set to benefit longer-term from an acceleration in the growth of ecommerce.”