The Midlands’ commercial property market is showing signs of a long-awaited upturn with small to medium-sized businesses more positive about the future, a survey shows.

Over a quarter (28 per cent) of property businesses expect an increase in market activity in the next six months, according to a report from Lloyds TSB Commercial.

The latest quarterly Property Matters report reveals a distinct contrast with last year’s results, with property business owners in London less confident in the UK market while regions such as the Midlands show a swing towards optimism.

The report states: “Despite the slight increase in positivity across the Midlands, respondents were split in their opinions on activity in the region, with 18 per cent expecting activity to slow and 54 per cent predicting that activity will stay at current levels. This gives the region a net confidence score of +10.”

Andy Watts, relationship manager for Lloyds TSB Commercial in Birmingham, said: “While there is more overall positivity than 2011, the overwhelming message is that SME business owners are not expecting a massive swing towards a vibrant market.

“This is not surprising with so many wider economic factors still in play.

“From a bank perspective, while it would be nice if this crucial sector of the property market were confidently expecting 2012 to be significantly better than the latter half of 2011, that isn’t going to happen without far more tangible evidence of movement in the market.

“However, the slight swing towards a belief in an upturn in the market and the fact that less people are predicting a decline is a positive sign.”