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Savills reports second month's rise in development activity

Commercial development activity rose for a second successive month in April, according to research by property consultant Savills.

The firm’s building & project consultancy team said that 8.1 per cent more firms surveyed said that commercial property work was up compared to those mentioning a decline, down from 13.1 per cent in March.

It found that the net balance for private sector projects was 18.3 per cent, with a net balance of -9.7 per cent reporting a drop in public sector work.

According to the report, 19 per cent of companies expect activity to be higher in three months’ time, compared with 14 per cent anticipating a decline:

“Anecdotal evidence provided by survey respondents suggested that general optimism was supported by expectations of new business wins,” it said.

The rise in commercial activity during April was highest in London and the South East, with rises of 18.6 per cent, with a smaller rise of just over 10 per cent in the rest of the UK.

Savills head of building consultancy Michael Pillow said: “Private sector development activity and confidence remained solid in April, raising further questions about the accuracy of the official statistics on construction output that contributed to the ‘double-dip’ in UK GDP last quarter.”

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