After a tumultuous 2020, property’s leading figures share their hopes and expectations for 2021 as the year gets off to a rocky start with yet another lockdown.
Executive vice-president, Europe and Asia-Pacific, Oxford Properties
I’m incredibly proud of the resilience that our team and our business has shown through the past 12 months, and I’m optimistic for 2021.
We will need to be patient as it’s clear that there has been some significant scarring to the economy and there’s still a lot of uncertainty to work through, but we think there will be a strong recovery in 2021 driven by three factors: first, a consumer-driven rebound as we emerge from lockdown, just as we’re seeing in Asia; second, the continued acceleration of demand in the digital economy; and third, strong capital flows into hard assets as investors hunt for yield in a world with $17trn (£12.8trn) of negative-yielding debt.
On the investment side, we will continue to build our market-leading businesses in the BTR and logistics sectors and are excited to bring our North American expertise in life sciences to Europe. We’re also starting to see some interesting and potentially transformational corporate M&A opportunities.
Chief executive Europe, Harrison Street
Last year was one of the most challenging of my career and I’m looking forward to putting it in the rear-view mirror. I feel blessed to have my health and family and count myself as one of the lucky ones in a year that has seen so much adversity and hardship.
From a professional standpoint the last year has been an unusual one – joining Harrison Street during the pandemic – but it’s a great example of how good companies act in times of adversity. Harrison Street is a family and I feel privileged to be part of it.
We have moved our European business forward: hired great people, invested in our infrastructure and created some great new partnerships. We have the foundations of a fantastic European business and I feel confident going into 2021 that we are focused on the most attractive and compelling sectors.
This proves our thesis of investing in demographically driven, anti-cyclical alternative real asset strategies.
Chief executive, Lincolnshire Co-Op
Lincolnshire Co-op’s commitment to community means we play our part in making life better in the towns in which we operate. We are focused on making Lincoln city centre accessible, relevant, and able to respond to the demands of our local residents as well as visitors.
The £70m development of the Cornhill Quarter, and the phased approach we have taken over the years, has enabled us to evolve in line with ever-changing consumer preferences and will enable Lincoln to thrive for years to come.
Looking ahead, we are engaged in reshaping the role of the city centre. To do this, all stakeholders will work together to create a compelling vision and far-reaching transformation plan, with immediate and longer-term goals, working with government at a local and national level to create the right conditions for trading and investment.
Landlords and tenants are coming to understand their common purpose and finding ways to adapt the relationship to share risk and reward.
Chief executive of real estate (international), Federated Hermes
We can expect to see a greater bifurcation between poorly-specified offices and those with carbon-efficient credentials in accessible locations. The halo effect of well-managed estates such as King’s Cross, benefiting from great placemaking, will be the long-term winners in real estate.
Such estates offer an environmentally compelling destination to an engaged community, with mixed-use buildings and facilities maintaining a region’s heritage links to the past and creating a sense of purpose and belonging for all citizens, not just occupiers.
This manifestation of delivering holistic returns will prove to be relevant and sustainable at a time when occupational demand has been profoundly affected by structural change.
Forecast for 2021: looking ahead with hope
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Forecast for 2021: looking ahead with hope (part 16)