Confidence in the UK’s office leasing market has wavered after signs of an uptick, according to Avison Young’s newly launched commercial real estate market activity index.
The index, based on a fortnightly survey of 630 principals globally, aims to capture a snapshot of market sentiment from investors, owners, occupiers and developers across the private and public sectors.
This is scaled from -100 to +100, with zero representing “no change”. Each principal scores responses from 5 (representing significantly stronger sentiment) to 1 (significantly weaker).
Confidence in UK office leasing has fluctuated considerably since AY began collating the figures.
In late April, activity was deeply negative (-60), compared with the previous two weeks; by early July this had strengthened to +17, before declining again to -13 on 20 July.
Despite these fluctuations, AY said that UK real estate is broadly showing “positive signs of improvement” amid the fall-out from Covid-19.
In the UK, industrial brokerage showed the strongest uplift among transactional business lines, reaching a +17 score in late July.
Property and facility and asset management was the top-performing category within the non-transactional services in the UK, where activity has improved consistently. This scored +17 in the latest July figures.
Planning and development consultancy activity has also grown week-on-week, reaching +14, although with “greater fluctuation”. Valuation and business rates also showed improvement.
UK project management and building consultancy has made a “significant recovery” since early June. This was attributed to more work associated with reconfiguring and reopening offices as lockdown measures eased.
Corporate and other occupier consulting has also enjoyed an uptick in recent weeks, as companies evaluate how best to move forward with their real estate strategy. This stands at +10, compared with -17 in late April.
At the other end of the scale, activity in the UK retail sector was consistently the weakest.
Nick Axford, global head of research at Avison Young, said: “It is clear that business and economic recovery from Covid-19 will take time and is likely to be a bumpy process.
“The positive momentum in global real estate markets is still evident in our latest survey, and it is encouraging to see positive signs of improvement in sentiment across the UK real estate market, highlighting its resilience on an international platform.”