The past two years, we’ve been on a rollercoaster ride of recession-dreading and recovery-hoping. But despite the market’s fickleness, good old boom and bust demands it adheres to some rules - and according to Dalio’s 18-year-cycle, correction is on the doorstep and recession in the post.

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By Sarah Calvert, commercial director at JustPark

There have been warning signs - investors de-risking and diversifying, properties selling below the mark, overheating measures increasing. And we have had it good for a long time - with record-low interest rates fuelling a price crescendo, and even Brexit struggling to dent valuations.

A correction would entail a price decrease of as much as 12% according to the PIA. Fortunately, there is a growing array of options for diversifying revenue streams - thanks largely to new tech-enabled efficiencies, which allow us to optimise our assets to an extent previously unavailable.

To this end, we see increasing collaboration between established players and agile startups. From platforms for renting short-term office space, to apps for hiring meeting rooms - technology providers offer plug-and-play ways to add value to a property and drive higher returns.

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JustPark focusses on an often-overlooked asset: car parks. Parking is a £50bn market, and with an increasing number of cars on the road the opportunity is bigger than ever. Yet there’s a wealth of potential which remains untapped - from empty spaces at offices, to land awaiting development.

Injecting efficiency

A City office car park with 50 spaces can generate around £300,000 annually, and add over £3m to the property’s overall value. Even if spaces are only empty at certain times, there’s still money to be made - opening those 50 spots to the paying public outside working hours could easily be worth £40,000 per year.

So why is everyone not cashing in on this apparent no-brainer? Until recently, car park management has been a slow-moving and highly-unadaptable business. Stuck in the dark ages, its dated solutions have lacked the flexibility to manage smaller sites or short-term leases.

“A City office car park with 50 spaces can generate over £300,000 annually, and add over £3m to the property’s overall value”

All it takes is the right mix of technology and data to inject some much-needed efficiency. By digitising car park management end-to-end, you can unlock the revenue potential of any piece of empty tarmac - regardless of shape, size, availability, location or contractual situation.

This is JustPark’s specialty, managing over 20,000 UK parking sites - from single spaces only available at weekends, to multi-stories open 24/7. We fill spaces via our app - used by 1.5 million drivers to book parking - and maximise revenue with dynamic pricing, which optimises tariffs to increase yield by 20%.

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“All it takes is the right mix of technology and data to inject some much-needed efficiency”

We’re seeing uptake of our service rapidly increase, with small agents right through to big sites such as The National Gallery. A common misconception is that the property industry is resistant to change and innovation - on the contrary, we’ve found it incredibly receptive to our tech-driven approach.

Income-producing assets are even more attractive during times of uncertainty - and parking offers a particularly enticing opportunity (don’t be fooled by the modest exterior). Car parks are resilient to economic ups-and-downs, delivering reliable and significant returns - plus when you already own the space, you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain.

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