Developers in London are more optimistic about the future than they were last year despite concerns about the political and economic climate, the London Development Barometer has revealed.

London development barometer 2018

In the survey of property leaders, conducted by M3 Consulting, a third of respondents (33%) predicted an increase in development activity over the next five years, up from just 19% last year.

While 42% anticipated lower levels of development activity and 82% said that central and local governments were not doing enough to enable development in the capital, both figures were down on last year, when 57% thought development would decline and 86% thought government could do more.

“It seems that the industry has processed and adjusted to the political and economic shake-ups of the past two years,” said Gavin Kieran, director at M3 Consulting.

“It is shifting into a more optimistic outlook with cautious overtones, while pragmatism remains. It continues to call for more action from central and local governments on matters directly under their control that could enable development activity – town-planning processes, funding and stamp duty policies.”

The industry also remains sceptical about the potential outcome of Brexit. Almost three quarters of those surveyed (72.5%) said they thought Brexit would have a negative impact on London development, although this was down from 80% last year.

However, more than half of the respondents (53%) said they thought that Brexit would either have no impact or would encourage overseas investment in London.

Planning policies rank as the top priority for the respondents, followed by increased funding for local authorities, infrastructure and transport.

In line with last year’s findings, the vast majority of respondents said they thought that there would be an increase in occupational demand for all sectors except retail.

A total of 235 industry professionals responded to the survey, 70% of whom hold senior positions.