The renting and operating retail sector has seen in a 16% increase in the number of small firms over the past five years, making it one of the top 30 industries for growth, according to a report by Hampshire Trust Bank.
At the same time, there has also been significant growth of small firms in the construction of domestic buildings sector.
Overall the number of SMEs increase by around a quarter in the five years between 2011 and 2016, with office admin and business support demonstrating the highest growth.
However, small businesses in the real estate sector – including renting – do not feel as confident about the long-term future of their industry as they did last year, according to the research.
Economic uncertainty and the taxation levels were cited as key barriers to growth.
Boost confidence to support economy
Mark Sismey-Durrant, chief executive of Hampshire Trust Bank, said: “SMEs are thinking long-term about their business and for many sectors this is a positive projection forward.
“The renting and operating retail sector has shown considerable growth over the past five years.
“We back the growth ambitions firms are demonstrating yet with SMEs in the sector displaying lower levels of optimism, more needs to be done to boost their confidence levels.”
The study was conducted in partnership with the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR).
Nina Skero, head of macroeconomics at CEBR, said: “The buoyant confidence among SMEs is a further sign that these businesses will continue supporting economic growth.
“The UK is undergoing a period of great economic change and cultivating this optimism must be a priority.”