Dominique Gonfard portrait 1

Dominique Gonfard

Head of operations and development, Tétris

The battle for attracting and retaining the best talent will continue to grow in complexity in 2022. With more and more office workers joining the ‘great resignation’ and questioning their commitment to corporate life, companies will be faced with an even greater need to offer employees creative, challenging and engaging workplace environments.

Design movements including agile working and variety-driven collaboration zones will move away from being trends and will start to define the norm, and employee perks such as flexible working and health and wellbeing amenities will remain a strong part of people’s workplace expectations.

Hans Vrensen

Hans Vrensen

Managing director, head of research and strategy, AEW (Europe)

We hope that the macroeconomic recovery will continue as the many Covid-19 impacts fade and global trade slowly returns to normal as companies adapt to new supply chains. In the post-Brexit era, economic life continues as the UK finds its new place in the world as the awkward European outsider.

One unexpected silver lining of the combined effect of Brexit and Covid-19 is that UK property yields have not tightened as much compared with other European markets.

Also, we trust that international investors will rediscover the relative attractiveness of the highly liquid UK property market as things return to normal. In fact, in AEW’s latest 2022 European outlook, we classify 21 of 32 UK markets covered as attractive including all 14 residential and retail markets. Prime UK shopping centre yields now stand at 7.7% and have widened by a staggering 320bps since 2015. Combined with a projected 40bps tightening, prime shopping centres should deliver returns of 9% a year over the next five years even without the rental growth outlook being that exciting.

Soumen Das

Soumen Das

Chief financial officer, SEGRO

There are several long-term structural drivers in our market that we expect to continue this year, including the digitalisation of our economies, urbanisation, sustainability and improvement of efficiency and resilience in supply chains. I think that innovation will continue to increasingly disrupt the property industry.

This could be in the form of using technology solutions to create smarter spaces, especially to help reduce energy consumption and to improve wellness for the employees of occupiers. Or it could be in the development of buildings, in areas such as enhanced environmental sustainability features, multi-storey development to intensify land use in urban areas or evolving traditional business models to meet the needs of growth sectors such as data centres and the creative industries.

Darren Williamson 1

Darren Williamson

National head of real estate, Freeths

It’s impressive how people adapt – 2020-21 will no doubt go down as one of those periods when the world came together and just worked it out. This year, I hope we continue to box off Covid so it becomes just another part of daily life. We continue to care about the issues that face us – diversity, the planet, fairness and integrity. We continue to embrace enablers such as innovation, to work and live differently where we need to.

My expectations are that this will remain a constant challenge; that Pandora’s box has been opened on thinking differently (Freethinking!) around how we work and live, and 2022 will see innovation aplenty; that while all this plays out there will be opportunities and pitfalls in our markets.

One thing I am sure of now is that if there is a group that can ride the wave and shape it, it is our industry.

Continue to part three here

Predictions for 2022: Brace yourself…