Growth of UK commercial development at new high
The latest reading was consistent with a sharp rate of expansion that was the strongest in the history of the series. Supporting the increase in the overall reading was a survey-record rise in private commercial work, whereas public commercial activity grew at a weaker pace. All nine broad areas of the commercial property sector registered growth, led by private new build.
Despite dropping from January’s survey record, the Future Expectations Index signalled a robust degree of optimism among UK commercial developers. The net balance posted +34.9% in February, from +36.1% in the previous month.
Positive sentiment was linked by panellists to improved client confidence and an increased number of enquiries. Some companies also indicated that stable interest rates will promote growth in the coming three months due to the low cost of borrowing.
UK commercial developers indicated that private new build activity rose at the sharpest pace in the 11-year survey history during February. Despite easing from January’s six-month high, growth of private office activity remained robust and stronger than that seen for public office projects.
Growth of commercial activity was broad-based by region, with London, the South East and the Rest of UK posting increases. At +50.0% in February, the net balance for the South East climbed to a new survey high and was above than the other two regions. ■