After two years of unprecedented challenges faced by real estate, experts share their predictions for 2022.
Chair, City of London Corporation’s planning and transportation committee
Throughout its long history, the City of London has endured many great challenges. From the Great Fire, the Blitz and now Covid-19, each has shaped its destiny and provided the impetus for reform and transformation to unlock future opportunity. As we move ahead in 2022, our long-term perspective means we know that the current pandemic is just that – current and temporary – and we firmly believe that the long-term fundamentals remain strong.
From shifting the City away from a European financial destination to a truly global one, through to strong continued demand for real estate in the Square Mile, we know the City’s future is bright. I believe in 2022, it will be resurgent, with a strong focus on sustainability and culture, emerging in a stronger position than when we entered the pandemic in 2020.
EMEA managing director, VTS
In the wake of the challenges and uncertainty the pandemic has created for the real estate industry, proptech solutions are viewed as more critical than ever – no longer a nice-to-have, but a must-have.
In 2022, I am confident the industry will continue its accelerated adoption of technology. Real estate companies have woken up to the tangible benefits that collaborating with proptech companies can have on their own innovation and we are seeing more and more companies look at data-led solutions, as well as how to maximise tenant engagement as we navigate the uncertainty around a hybrid environment and the future of the workplace.
In 2022, tech will no doubt continue to form
a critical part of any successful real estate strategy. It is vital that the industry continues to engage with proptech companies whether by investing in them, seeking their advice, or adopting their market-leading products.
Senior architect, Farrells
For us and our clients, 2022 will centre on design solutions that embrace reuse and circular economies. The industry has to keep banging the drum about giving new life to existing buildings and infrastructure, creating truly productive landscapes that integrate with communities for years to come.
Wellbeing and social value will continue to play a role in recovery and we need to ensure human interaction is not lost among the digital tools we use every day – celebrating diversity, experiences and knowledge is essential to rebuilding our cities, high streets and local environments.
Group director of development, Clarion Housing Group
In 2022, it is important that we pick up where we left off. Last year, Clarion Housing Group’s Latimer built a record 2,126 homes – 90% of them affordable – against a backdrop of inflation, material shortages and a global pandemic. But of course, we must continue to be more than just bricks and mortar. Covid-19 has highlighted a stark social inequality across the country and our industry can help tackle this growing problem and ‘level up’ areas blighted by this injustice.
Over the next year, we have bold plans to deliver genuine ‘social sustainability’ to people who need it most. We will create jobs, cultivate new communities and accelerate our commitment to building sustainable homes that are fit for the future.
Our sector must enter 2022 as determined as ever to innovate, change lives and build the affordable homes this country desperately needs. This ethos drives Latimer forward, whatever challenges we face.
Development associate, General Projects
Last year, real estate realised that normal service would not be resumed. Yesterday’s standards are no longer acceptable. Assets are no longer commodities – they are services. And we can no longer only do well, we must also do good.
With that in mind, I look forward to 2022 as a year to build on the foundations of change in our industry: from retrofitting existing buildings to reducing inequality; from tackling the climate crisis to creating best-in-class places to work, live and be together. Real estate now has the opportunity to prove it is not just a force of nature, but it can also be a force for good. That should be the number-one ambition to drive us through the next 365 days.
At General Projects, in our commitment to a purpose alongside profit, we will continue to pioneer new ways to procure services, construct buildings and operate assets to benefit local people and build meaningful social value.
Founder, A/O PropTech
While we remain in the early innings of built environment technology expansion, 2021’s $32bn (£23.6bn) in global investment set new records. The coming years will see an increasing focus on explicitly sustainable technologies to help calculate, benchmark and reduce carbon emissions and wastage. Reaching net zero across the built environment is the only way we can reach net zero globally, given that it represents 40% of emissions.
It is therefore the single most tangible opportunity to tackle climate change today. COP26’s mixed results raise the stakes for the private sector to provide the solutions that intergovernmental co-operation could not. Without seamless private-public collaboration, there is little chance we can collectively succeed.
However, the private sector has a chance to take the lead. The increased commercial value of sustainability, combined with the property industry’s high ambitions and willingness to transform itself, will be an important driver.
Executive director, RivingtonHark
While the future of the high street has never been more uncertain, there is reason to be optimistic. That’s because the conversation is now focused on people not property: creating brilliant places for them to live, work and play.
A modern city centre should be masterplanned, with strategically considered retail; a vibrant food and beverage offer, including independents and big names; leisure pursuits, both indoor, such as cinemas and theatres, and outdoor, such as green spaces for exercise or relaxation; and community amenities including homes, educational and wellbeing facilities.
The regeneration of Swansea, on which RivingtonHark acts as development manager for Copr Bay phase one, is a case in point. With affordable homes, a new arena and a better connection between the urban realm and the natural setting through active travel infrastructure, Copr Bay is a benchmark for how we can reshape our cities to be authentic to their natural assets and heritage, as well as places where people thrive in 2022 and beyond.
Chief executive, LDS Sales Guarantees
The only thing we can be certain of this year is more uncertainty. Unfortunately, Covid and Brexit will linger and continue to affect the cost and availability of labour and materials.
To overcome this uncertainty, industry must continue to embrace change, stay agile and focus on opportunities with maximum growth potential. Housebuilding in England fell by 11% in 2020-21. SMEs are best placed to address this in 2022 by bringing forward smaller sites that are more efficient to turn around. Research we commissioned found restoring SME developers to historic levels of supply would bring 55,000 extra new homes – with a value approaching £20bn – forward each year. We are tipping ambitious SME developers to continue to grow in 2022 and will do our best to support them.
Continue to part 53 here
Predictions for 2022: Brace yourself…
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Predictions for 2022: Brace yourself (part fifty-two)
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