December figures show a mixed picture but sector is 'past the worst'

There was a moderate expansion of overall commercial development activity in December, extending the current period of growth to five months, according to a new survey by Savills.

Commercial developers experienced a mixed December with some reporting a rise in activity on previous months and others reporting a fall. The Commercial Development survey showed that just under 23% of developers in this sector saw an increase in activity in December while 19% said they experienced a fall.

The survey also reports that private sector development underpinned the expansion in December, while public sector activity dropped further.

Although this was the fifth consecutive month of growth in this sector, it was the slowest rate of growth since the start of the upturn in August - at just +3.6%, down from +9.2% in November.

Commenting on the December survey, Mat Oakley, head of Savills' commercial research department said: "As vacancy rates begin to show signs of peaking in some markets, it is clear from this month's survey that developers' optimism remains resilient. There are still risks to be faced in 2010 but we are definitely past the worst."