"These low levels of optimism are a reflection of the tough trading conditions faced by both the property and construction industries," says Lee-Anne Bac, head of property advisory at Grant Thornton.
explains that a reduction in orders due to the generally sluggish economy has impacted on these sectors and while government's infrastructure upgrade is in the pipeline there is no clear indication of when projects will be launched, compounding concerns about the future.
Over regulation also has a real strangle-hold on this sector, which could lead to further stagnation if not addressed, says Bac
says these findings show that local property and construction businesses are focusing on business fundamentals - looking to increase turnover and profitability - to improve performance.
While this is no different to the strategies employed by business owners in general, it is clear that property and construction businesses see limited opportunity in increasing pricing.
On strategies to improve business performance, business owners in the property and construction sector recorded 56 percent to increase turnover/revenue, increase profitability (53 percent), increase investment in plant and machinery (49 percent), increase research and development (36 percent), increase in selling prices (33 percent), increase employment (27 percent), increase investment in new buildings (25 percent) and increase exports (9 percent).
"This is typical of a stressed and highly competitive sector and business owners clearly feel they have limited room to manoeuvre in increasing prices and the sector is still demand driven or a buyers' market," says Bac
So while times remain tough, property and construction businesses are focusing on existing assets and investing in building renovations and machinery.
"Typically not many are investing in new buildings, but rather consolidating and improving their current assets in order to be more attractive to potential tenants or clients as the economy turns," adds Bac