The value of the retail property market dipped in 2017 but demand was significantly up on the previous year, driven by the forecourt sector, according to specialist agents Christie & Co.

Average prices across retail fell by -0.4% last year, but the number of retail businesses sold increased by 29% compared to 2016.

Forecourts experienced “very high demand” last year, especially those with growing convenience operations and healthy fuel margins, said Steve Rodell, Christie’s managing director for retail.

“Independent operators will adapt and evolve, shifting focus to retail innovations, such as food-to-go, to drive profitability. Fuel sales will inevitably decline in the long term as the introduction of alternative fuelled vehicles gathers pace,” he added.

“Research and development supported by government initiatives and apps to pay for fuel in advance along with Wi-Fi rollout and more electric charging points will all feature.”

The continued uncertainty surrounding Brexit has made its impact across all sectors, but the UK has also welcomed a spike in tourism and a surge of foreign capital into the UK market, according to the company’s Business Outlook 2018 report.