In a trading update, the property firm focused on regional offices said current rent collection for the June 2020 quarter currently stands at 77%, but with agreed monthly payments that figure has increased to 91% of rent due.
WATCH: Circle Property's John Arnold says rent collection's healthy with recoveries 'ahead of competition'
The company also said it is in “constant and constructive dialogue” with its tenants and anticipates its rent collection numbers will “continue to increase”.
Circle also said it has remained active across its portfolio in the period, completing a new letting in Northampton to a consulting firm on a 10-year lease at £34,000 per year. Meanwhile, the firm said tenant interest at its newest asset, Concorde Park in Maidenhead, “continues to build pleasingly” with vacancies at the site falling to 33% from 63% since last August.
“Whilst letting activity continues in our regions, albeit at a slower pace, we expect this to pick up as workforces gradually return to places of work”, the company said, adding that heading into the pandemic it has been “benefiting from both structural demand growth and supply constraints in its chosen regional centres”.
“Whilst disruptive in the short-term, we see no evidence that [coronavirus] will fundamentally alter these underlying dynamics. In this respect, we remain positive that small, regional offices will continue to be attractive venues for work”, Circle added.
Looking ahead, the firm said it is “not yet in a position” to provide guidance for the year ending March 31, 2021, although it currently expects that a final dividend for the year ended March 31, 2020, will be paid, however, a final decision has not yet been made.
"Our ability to deliver a solid performance in current market conditions demonstrates not only the strong and constructive relationships we have with our tenants, but also the benefits of the size and flexibility of our space”, Circle chief executive John Arnold said in the trading statement.
"We continue to believe in the long-term market opportunity in regional offices despite a change in short-term working patterns and our team has been working tirelessly through this uncertain time in order to protect the value of our commercial properties and income attached. As lockdown eases, we expect workers to return to offices and we remain confident in the long-term demand for regional office space and the Group's prospects over the months and years ahead", he added.
The company's shares were up 1.6% at 157.5p in mid-morning trading on Tuesday.
--Adds share price--