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Friday, May 12, 2023

Savills April data signals a further sharp expansion of commercial development activity

The Savills Commercial Development PMI® survey for April indicated a further sharp rise in total activity, albeit at a slightly weaker pace than in March. UK commercial property developers pointed to a marked expansion of both public and private sector projects in April.

The latest increase in commercial construction projects was broad-based across the nine areas of development that were monitored. Private sector office activity recorded the strongest rate of expansion in April.

Commercial developers continued to report a strong degree of business confidence in April. The highest level of optimism was for office construction activity in the coming three months.

Commenting on the survey, Mat Oakley, head of Savills' Commercial Research department said: "While the continued high levels of development activity in the office sector come as no surprise, the fact that retail and leisure development activity hit its highest level since March 2004 is interesting. Evidently many developers expect the current low levels of consumer confidence and spending to improve over the next three months."

Key findings for April 2006:

-At 60.9 in April, down from 64.2 in March, the Total Commercial Activity Index signalled a further sharp expansion of UK commercial development. More than one-quarter of survey respondents indicated a rise in activity, compared to less than 5% that signalled a decline.

-Private sector commercial development increased at a sharper rate than the public sector equivalents. Growth of overall activity weakened slightly in both sectors, but remained well above their respective long-term averages.

-Commercial property developers operating outside of London and the South East reported the strongest growth of the three UK regions monitored in April. Higher levels of activity were recorded throughout the UK, although the rates of growth eased from the previous month.

-All nine broad areas of development monitored in April recorded a rise in activity. Panel members indicated that the sharpest rate of expansion was in private sector office projects.

-Survey respondents remained highly confident that commercial development activity will rise in the next three months. However, the degree of business confidence in each area that was monitored in April was less marked than the average over the previous quarter.

-Anecdotal evidence indicated that recent improvements in market demand and new business had supported the strong degree of positive sentiment regarding the three-month outlook.