|Source: Markit Economics
UK commercial development activity gained further upward momentum in September, according to latest survey data from agents Savills.
29% of developers reported a rise in activity over the month, compared to just over 17% that signalled a decline.
At +11.6% in September, the resultant net balance, the Total Commercial Development Activity Index, was the highest since July 2007.
Growth of overall activity has now been recorded for two months in a row. In September, private sector development increased at the sharpest pace since July 2007, but public sector activity fell over the month.
The degree of business optimism in the commercial development sector held steady in September, following the two-year high recorded in August. The net balance measuring the three-month business outlook dipped only fractionally from +11.1% to +10.1% in September.
Companies anticipating an increase in activity over the final quarter of 2009 generally pointed to signs of an improvement in market demand. Data indicated that developers were most optimistic about the industrial /warehouse sector and least confident regarding office activity.
Growth of activity was driven by private sector development in September. Public sector office activity, new build and retail & leisure all declined over the month, following solid gains in August. Refurbishment was the best performing broad area of commercial development in September. Latest data also indicated marked rises in office fit-out activity and private sector office development.
Commenting on the September survey, Mat Oakley, head of Savills' Commercial Research department said:"This month’s data points to a sharp increase in refurbishment and office fit-out activity. Both of these tend to the first sectors to recover from the downturn and rely less on bankers’ cautionary stance regarding development. The evolution of the development market over the next 12 months will depend heavily on both bankers' and politicians' decisions - - not necessarily a comforting place to be!"