After two years of unprecedented challenges faced by real estate, experts share their predictions for 2022.

Alistair Allison

Managing partner, TFT

For all its challenges, 2021 saw reduced costs, increased productivity, government support for construction and busy clients, so fortunately, we fared much better than some industries.

But we have seen the impact that Covid has had on our workforce. People are under considerably more strain, with fewer chances for in-person socialising in the working week, travel opportunities limited and uncertainty about when things will return to ‘normal’.Likewise, our charitable partners have been stretched to provide for those they serve.

So, we have seen how resilient and flexible people can be when it comes to supporting one another within TFT and in wider society, but also the role our company can play to help. Last year saw an increase in our investment and innovation to improve wellbeing, which will certainly continue in the years ahead.

Caitriona Hunter

Caitriona Hunter

Director, CBRE IM

We hope for a post-Covid period of healing in the retail sector. Last year had its challenges, but there is optimism out there. The paradigm shift in retail behaviour in the UK, evident prior to the pandemic, has accelerated and much of the global change to shopping habits has already played out in the UK.

Angel Central, our central London retail destination, is a great example as we had some great footfall numbers last year despite the challenges, and high street bricks-and-mortar retail will continue to thrive.

It is also important to continue investing in retail spaces to stay relevant as we have done with the completion of the £16m Angel Central refurbishment – it is about creating places people can enjoy. With a greater understanding of tenant businesses, motivations and prospects, 2022 is a year to rebuild and restore the importance of our sector – and to become more adaptable.

Guy Thomas

Head of place assets, Lendlease

My main hope is that the energy, flexibility, innovation and adaptability shown by businesses – solving a lifetime of problems in a year – can be turned to growing and expanding.

Our work at Elephant Park – at Elephant & Castle in south London – shows small businesses are among the most resilient and innovative, and working closely with them, as we did in 2021, demonstrates the value they bring beyond basic sales and footfall metrics.

The influence our ground-floor spaces can have in terms of social impact, community building and thoughtful approaches to environmental problems is potentially massive, and we are only scratching the surface of understanding this and how it can inspire us to build better places.

As we move through a (hopefully) less challenging year, the opportunity is to comprehensively embed these principles in our pipelines and masterplans.

Lucy Grimwood, senior associate at Winckworth Sherwood

Lucy Grimwood

Senior associate, Winckworth Sherwood

It’s no secret that ESG will be the biggest trend of 2022. The implications for all sectors, including property, need to be understood and embedded. The government’s recent sustainable investing roadmap means all developers and housing associations will soon be required to make sustainability disclosures at some level.

Solid and demonstrable ESG credentials will become mandatory, and compliance with current sustainable accounting standards will not be enough. If the discussion so far has been about showing commitment in areas like social value and climate change, 2022 will be about proving it. Businesses should start with good governance – implementing robust systems from the top down to collect data and measure sustainability transparently and consistently.

Having a clear strategy is the way to make that happen, but our industry risks falling behind. Those that have not started planning already have a crucial 12 months ahead.


Continue to part 37 here

Predictions for 2022: Brace yourself…