Estate agents have warned of a potentially slow start to the commercial property market in 2019, as uncertainty over Brexit continues to affect the confidence of buyers and sellers.

However, Joe Ellis from chartered surveyor Edwin Thompson, which has offices across the county including Carlisle, said there were also stronger areas in the sector.

"Uncertainty which has been created from Brexit has made people pause for thought and potentially delay any specific decisions such as relocation or purchasing additional premises," he said.

The continuing challenges for the high street also meant sales of retail property were moving slowly - especially in areas such as Penrith or Wigton, which did not have the footfall of towns like Carlisle, Kendal, Windermere or Keswick.

"The resilient and most successful asset class is industrial as there is a lack of stock and high demand," said Mr Ellis.

Recently, he said Edwin Thompson had sold virtually an entire 14 acres of industrial property on Gilwilly Industrial Estate, in Penrith, within 12 months. It had also been seeing a lot of interest in over 30 acres of commercial land at Carlisle Airport.

Sixteen acres of land earmarked for development by Carlisle City Council was also understood to have an interested party, as well as 10 acres at Deer Park on Kingmoor Rd.

Mr Ellis said the general shortage of housing helped sustain interest in development land, although warnings of a drop in house prices following Brexit may effect decisions by some developers.

Alicia Griffiths, sales negotiator at Corrie and Co, in Barrow, said property vendors were laying the blame for slow sales on Brexit.

Properties currently being sold by the estate agent include The Knights pub in Dalkeith St, in Barrow, and the Masons Arms, in Market St, Dalton.

"In terms of commercial properties, 2018 was quite slow," she said.

"Public housing and pieces of land are not moving as fast as they should be. We have found that especially our warehouses and warehouses with land tend to stick a little bit. Brexit has affected both the residential and commercial market. People are a lot more cautious about their spending and disposable income, mortgage companies are a lot more careful about lending. I think people are waiting to see what happens."

She advised sellers to list properties as soon as they could in 2019, as there was generally more interest earlier in the year.

Graham Iles, director at Michael CL Hodgson estate agents in Kendal and Grange, said 2018 had seen a reduction in the number of properties going on sale in Cumbria with prices being "relatively modest".

He said: "However, there remains good demand for sensibly priced properties in most sectors, with competition for the best properties in the most sought-after locations in and around the Lake District.

"The take away message from this is that properties that are well presented, in the right location and which are priced appropriately will always sell."

He said stock levels had been low throughout the year "possibly due to a lack of confidence amongst some potential vendors".

"The market has been relatively sedate in more recent months with a seasonal slowdown in the run up to Christmas happening earlier than in previous years," he said.

"This may signal a slow start into 2019. We are fully aware that we need to keep an eye on how the economy reacts to Brexit and what the final outcome will be, as this is clearly having an impact on the property market.

“Political and economic uncertainty is leading to nervousness amongst some buyers and sellers, which is one of the reasons leading to a lower volume of properties coming to market for sale. We have seen caution in the marketplace and this is likely to continue in 2019."