After two years of unprecedented challenges faced by real estate, experts share their predictions for 2022.
Founder and chief executive, Impact Capital Group
While we can debate the outcomes of COP26, 2021 was a game-changing year for sustainability. It finally feels as if we are addressing climate change – one of the greatest emergencies of our time. In 2022, the green movement will continue to thrive and addressing climate change will leak into each and every sector.
The government is yet to respond to the targets set out at COP26, but 2022 is likely to see those start to materialise, setting the nation into much-needed green action. We will see greater encouragement of green operations, from green loans for developers through to setting more sustainable standards for new-build developments, recognising the benefits of MMC or setting the criteria for carbon net zero building performance.
Innovation will persist as the housing sector is disrupted to become fit for purpose. We will see cross-sector partnerships developing.
Sustainability lead, Native Land
We expect the office market flight to quality to continue, as occupiers seek the best and most sustainable office space to nurture talent and meet ESG targets. The so-called ‘great resignation’ in 2021 underscored the view that to compete for top talent, you need to have a best-in-class office – not just a place to work, but a representation of your company and a career choice.
With only 4% of London offices meeting 2030 energy requirements, we expect some interesting acquisition opportunities from landlords not willing to pay the capex to meet incoming regulations.
In 2022, we expect the sustainability agenda to move forward, with companies committing to more innovation, exploring how we can meet targets. It is what we are doing at our Bankside Yards project, where we are providing a new, fifth-generation energy network powered by renewables that will ensure the entire 1.4m sq ft development is net zero carbon in operation.
The office market began to come back to life in 2021, with office footfall continuing to rise by 6% in November. But the ongoing threat of the pandemic and altered demands from workers means that flexibility will be increasingly key in the year ahead. This will undoubtably be the year of flex; with 85% of working adults still wanting a hybrid approach to the office, flexible working is here to stay.
Landlords looking to future-proof their portfolios in 2022 may consider making the switch to flex. However, as landlords adapt to the new normal of hybrid working in 2022, technology must be their first port of call. An average of 16 million working days were lost last year from bad internet connections, meaning a well-connected office will be essential to link the hybrid workforce. In 2022, it will be technology that makes or breaks a landlord’s offering.
Executive director, ARCO
This will be the year of integrated retirement communities. We have already seen a growing consensus in Westminster about the importance of specialist retirement properties with integrated care and facilities. Investors agree, with the likes of NatWest and BlackRock the latest significant institutional investors to enter the sector.
Housebuilders would benefit from aligning their interests with their customers and thinking longer term about how to create a community that brings together housing, with the facilities and care people need as they grow older, as there is no doubt that this is operational real estate – with a focus on the operational, not the real estate.
Predictions for 2022: Brace yourself…
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Predictions for 2022: Brace yourself (part thirty-two)