ALTHOUGH the commercial property market is starting to pick up quite strongly, the hiatus in construction over the past couple of years means there is little new-build available. According to Alan Matthews of commercial property agents Barker Storey Matthews, the availability of office space in and around Huntingdon has decreased dramatically during the last 12 months, leaving only limited stock on the market. Although freehold prices are still about 25 per cent below the peak levels of about three years ago, the last year has seen an increase in prices of over 15 per cent, a trend that is likely to continue as stock levels decrease further, he believes. The commercial property market appears positive, as new and existing businesses emerge from the recession and look towards the future, he said. And, with landlords offering favourable freehold and lease terms, tenants and owner-occupiers have been seizing the opportunity to acquire new premises at discounted prices. But with construction of any new properties unlikely in the immediate future, the supply of brand new offices is decreasing fast, leaving businesses with a limited choice of mainly second-hand, and generally poorer-quality stock, and facing higher running costs. One of the few local sites offering new-build is Vantage Park, just off the A141 in Huntingdon, built by local developer Artisan (UK) Developments Limited, which is so confident of the quality that it and its parent plc have their headquarters there. So, too, do Speymill Plc, Greenery UK, Danwood Group and Team Engineering, which have all re-located there in the past couple of years. Vantage Park is a prime example of the type of offices now in short supply, Mr Matthews said. Set in landscaped surroundings, with 75 per cent of the development now complete, and less than 15 per cent of that space available for immediate occupation on either freehold or leasehold terms, unit sizes range upwards from 836 sq ft. And freehold prices start from just £149,995 for brand-new, high-quality, purpose-designed accommodation that includes air-conditioning, fully carpeted raised access floors, all combined with good levels of allocated car parking for exclusive use. Fellow agent William Neal from Savills added: There are deals to be done and, with a limited number of office units available for immediate occupation, those thinking about changing their office requirements should act fast. The running costs of newly built offices are considerably lower than an older property as the buildings are much more energy-efficient. INFORMATION: contact William Neal at Savills Cambridge on 01223 347294 or Alan Matthews at Barker Storey Matthews on 01480 451578.