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Private investors prefer UK assets to US stocks and gold

Private investors have more confidence in U.K. shares and property than any other asset class, thanks in part to the U.S. Federal Reserve's tapering, new research shows.

Individual investors were more confident in British assets compared to last year, with confidence in property and shares up 50 points and 25 points respectively according to the Lloyds Bank Private Banking Investor Sentiment Index.

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This compared with U.S. stocks, which saw a 7 point improvement from March last year and emerging market equities, which slipped three points.

(Read more: Why Soros and Paulson's bet on Spain could pay off)

"The rise in shares versus the drop in gold over the past year is very interesting. It signals that investors are actively seeking better-performing – but riskier – assets," said head of investment policy at Lloyds Bank Private Banking, Ashish Misra.

Misra said the boost in confidence in U.K. assets, which picked up in the second half of last year when speculation over when and how much the Fed would scale back stimulus peaked, showed that private investors were becoming more sophisticated.

"The spikes in sentiment in the wake of policy decisions such as the Federal Reserve postponing QE tapering of its asset purchase program in September 2013, goes to show how the average private investor is becoming more sophisticated and knowledgeable. With this in mind, it will be interesting to see how the current crisis in Ukraine will affect investors' sentiment towards Eurozone shares," Misra said

The index tracks investor sentiment, with net sentiment assessed by comparing those who hold a positive view and those who hold a negative view each month on the outlook for each type of investment.

(Read more: Global stocks slide as Crimea referendum looms)

Net sentiment towards gold has plummeted in the last year, despite an 8 point lift since January this year it has more than halved since March 2013.

This month, sentiment towards euro zone shares was the biggest climber, up 9 points from last month. Investors also warmed to emerging markets equities, which saw a rise of 4 points compared to 9 point drop in the previous month.

The findings come as growth in U.K. commercial property activity is increasing rapidly, due to a sharp rate of expansion in private commercial work said global property advisor Savills.

(Read more: Emerging economies hurting global growth: OECD)

U.K. commercial developers said that private new build activity rose at the sharpest pace in February in the 11-year history of the Commercial Development Activity survey, released on Wednesday.

"The positive outlook for the market is clearly feeding through to development activity levels considering February's survey high – with future expectations remaining robust we expect to see further improvements in activity levels over the coming months," said Simon Collett, head of building & project consultancy at Savills.

By CNBC's Jenny Cosgrave: Follow her onTwitter @jenny_cosgrave