Big fall on way in City office rents

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RATE bills for offices in the City of London could fall by as much as 65 per cent after the next revaluation, due to take effect in two years' time, according to St Quintin, the chartered surveyors, writes Heather Connon.

But bills for occupiers in Manchester and Leeds could almost double.

In a report on the impact of the 1995 rating revaluation St Quintin points out that the current level of the uniform business rate is based on rental values in April 1988, when central London office rents were nearing their peak levels of pounds 60-plus a square foot.

St Quintin estimates that rents have now fallen to about pounds 22 a square foot after allowing for rent-free periods and other incentives. And it concludes that this could mean rates falling from pounds 25 to less than pounds 9 a square foot.

In contrast, rates charged on property in the North of England - where values were only just beginning to rise in 1988 - could increase by as much as 90 per cent, while occupiers in the Midlands could pay 60 per cent more.