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

John Cole

Senior managing director and head of real estate debt, Cain International

I am cautiously optimistic for the year ahead. The first quarter may have a bumpy start – with fears of an economic slowdown and potential further restrictions affecting sentiment – but we know that we can successfully manage these situations. Even with the Omicron variant, we are still headed towards something resembling normality.

Real estate is a long-term play – we are about long-term trends, not what happens in the next five minutes. To that end, the more important factors to watch for real estate will be inflation and ESG. I think real estate will continue to be in demand as an inflation hedge, but the premium we have witnessed for green assets with flexible offerings will dramatically increase and further affect the value of assets that are not up to scratch.

Jon Gibson

Jon Gibson

Global director ESG, Avison Young

My hope is that in 2022, we can realise the opportunity to re-examine how our buildings and places can make a positive impact. The decarbonisation of real estate and an uptick in retrofitting are essential focuses for this year.

Forward-thinking investors will look to improve environmentally underperforming assets with a focus on embodied carbon; proptech companies will take centre stage in the move to understanding the real-time energy efficiency of buildings; and innovators offering sustainable building techniques will be in high demand.

A radical reskilling and mindset shift is needed – collaboration and knowledge-sharing have to be the way forward. Our industry has been vocal about the benefits of a hand-in-hand approach to economic recovery and progress towards a net zero economy, resulting in a healthier, inclusive and more resilient society. It is time to stop talking and start taking tangible steps to battle climate change.

Helen Bunch

Helen Bunch

Managing director, Wates Residential

There is no doubt 2022 will be a challenging year, both socially and economically, and this means there is an even greater need for quality, affordable and sustainable housing that enables us to create healthy, successful communities.

To meet this need, our sector must show innovation and collaboration and – most importantly – we must challenge ourselves to find solutions that address critical issues, from mitigating rising occupancy costs and fuel poverty to building thousands of high-quality homes to help tackle the UK’s housing shortage, eliminating carbon from our operations and investing in MMC to improve quality and efficiency.

More than anything, I hope that next year sees this pandemic come to an end and that we can go back to enjoying time with family, friends and colleagues without any fears of Covid-19. Our role is to create homes and environments that make people feel safe and that enhance individual and community wellbeing.

Predictions for 2022: Brace yourself…