The number of forecourt sites that were sold or let in 2013 was less than a quarter of the previous year, but there was a 14% increase in values over the same period, according to Barber Wadlow’s Forecourt Property Market Update.

It reports that there were 240 transactions involving forecourts in 2013, compared with 1,100 the previous year.

Values were calculated in association with Experian Catalist, and showed the largest annual increase since 2006. Barber Wadlow said the increase was principally driven by a dearth of available sites. It added: “With oil company divestment programmes slowing down, and disposals subject to less attractive fuel supply agreements, those seeking to expand are finding the market increasingly competitive.”

Oil company rationalisation dominated the transactional market in 2013, with the total number of oil company sites sold or let estimated at 116. The biggest divestor was Esso, disposing of nearly 80 sites in 2013, with a further 84 sites sold this January.

It adds: “The big four supermarkets continue to grow and, while they have all been acquiring existing sites, a significant proportion (circa 75%) of their expansion so far has been development of new petrol filling stations within their own store car parks.

“The major independent retailers have capitalised on oil company disposals, with the top six companies adding 123 sites in 2013. The largest increase in network size was recorded by MRH and Euro Garages (adding 52 and 50 sites respectively). Irish retailer, Petrogas, grew its UK network by a massive 86%.”