Fleurets sold a greater proportion of pubs for continued pub use in 2013 compared to the previous year, while the average sale price was 7% higher than for alternative use.

New figures from the agent indicate that it sold 56% of pubs for continued use, up from 54% in 2012. A higher proportion of bottom-end sites were sold for conversion - up from 50% to 52% - which it said suggests lower quality pubs are more often being sold for alternative uses.

In the south, average sale price for sites sold for pub use was £365,000, 6% lower than for alternative use. The uplift was much more dramatic in the north, where the average pub sold for continued use went for one third more than those that stayed as pubs (£230,000).

“This suggests that in the north more pubs are closing and selling for alternative use because they are no longer viable as pubs, but in the south there are more pub sales going for alternative use because of the higher values being generated,” said Fleurets.

“At only +6% higher, however, it is not a significant amount and it may well be attributable to a few very high value alternative use sales in central London.”

Nationally, the average sale price of a freehold pub sold by Fleurets for continued use last year was £282,000, 7% higher than for alternative use (£263,325).

Of the pubs sold for alternative use, the proportion going for residential conversion grew from 54% to 59% between 2012 and 2013.

A higher proportion were due for conversion to retail (18%, against 14% in 2012) but far fewer were to be changed to restaurants (5%, down from 14% in the previous year).

Five percent were sold for office conversion (2012: 4%), with 4% going to be convenience stores (2012: 4%), 2% going for hotel/B&B use (2012: 1%) and 7% for other purposes (2012: 9%).

Fleurets said: “We have continued to see a slow down in the conversion of public houses sold for alternative use, but the most common end uses haven’t changed a great deal over the last four years. What can be seen from the end use figures is that there has been a continued increase in the percentage being sold for residential conversion/development which last year accounted for 59% of all alternative use sales.

“The other point of note is that the supply of pubs to convert to convenience stores is continuing, and we have seen developers continuing to identify suitable sites with many working directly with the big pub companies.”