Petrol station transactions hit a post-recession high in 2016, as the average price of retail sites rose by 8.8%, according to Christie & Co’s latest business outlook report.

The commercial property group reported that the independent dealer market has become “heated” in the forecourt sector, with the oil companies turning to independents for growth.

“Going into 2017, we may see some activity from Shell and BP, but attention will be focused on the independent groups,” said Steve Rodell, Christie’s managing director for Retail.

“Simple laws of supply and demand are in effect, and there are just not enough quality sites available.”

In convenience, potential buyers are increasingly seeking profitable add-on services such as food to go and coffee to go. “We expect this trend, along with fresh food provision, to grow through 2017 as operators look to diversify and maximise their turnover,” said Rodell.

“We will also see a sideways push to bring standalone Post Office units into the convenience sector to encourage footfall.”

Christie’s also reported the emergence of a two-tier convenience market whereby anything turning over £15,000 per week attracts multiple offers, with branded stores and post offices commanding premium pricing. Stores that turnover less must be competitively priced to sell, it added.

In 2016 there was a 12% increase in the average number of offers received per business, the Business Outlook 2017 report found.