Well, here we go again. Lockdown number two. While it was perhaps inevitable, it is a blow to the many businesses that were starting to get back on their feet. It may have been necessary to protect lives, but with Christmas on the horizon and no end to the pandemic in sight, it has been a hard pill to swallow for many.
However, reading through the essays in this issue of Perspectives, I was reminded that as difficult as this year has been, opportunity really does spring from adversity. Take Yardi’s approach to the PBSA sector, which has had a tough few months getting students in and then keeping them safe. Account executive Georgie Drewery writes that investor appetite is still there and the pandemic has given operators the chance to use technology to ensure the wellbeing of their residents, which I’m sure many will continue to do long after Covid-19 has left the building.
In the auctions world, Clive Emson managing director James Emson says the business has been bowled over by the response to its sales leaving the ballroom and going digital. He notes that one client, an elderly gentleman who had never owned a computer, bought one especially for auctions and has since declared he much prefers bidding for and buying lots online.
You don’t need me to tell you how well the industrial market has fared from the rise in online shopping – a trend that is only getting more pronounced with lockdown coinciding with the prime pre-Christmas shopping weeks. Colliers’ Len Rosso and Andrea Ferranti say the rise in automation has also been accelerated by the pandemic, which will create more jobs than are replaced in the sector in future.
So it’s not all doom and gloom; there are opportunities to be found in the property market. I think LandTech co-founder and chief executive Jonny Britton puts it most succinctly when he says that the businesses that will fare best – be they proptech, developers or operators – are those that identify a problem, find a solution to it, and then find an effective way of selling that solution.
I hope you enjoy this issue of Perspectives and that you, too, can find a glimmer of opportunity in these difficult times.
Emma Shone is news editor at Property Week