Say it quietly: the pandemic is almost over. Vaccination rates are up, people are hugging again and workers are returning to their offices.

Mitchell Labiak

Mitchell Labiak

So, what comes next? In this edition of Perspectives, experts from across the real estate industry have attempted to answer this question for their particular sector. Their answers are equal parts fascinating and encouraging.

Take FirstPort, which predicts a future of residential property management in which the industry is more regulated, more tech-enabled and more trusted. These are trends the company says have been affecting the industry for a while, but Covid has certainly accelerated them. As Charles Lucas, business development director at FirstPort, puts it: “The pandemic has shown how critical having a comfortable, safe and secure place to live is. And more time at home means our customers can clearly see the benefits of a good property manager.”

StarRez is also forecasting a bright future for residential following the pandemic, emphasising how impressed it has been by the speed at which the BTR sector adjusted to the pandemic and how willing it was to share best practices. Samsung, meanwhile, shares its thoughts on how tech will factor into the homes of the future.

Also flying the flag for a post-pandemic technological revolution in the real estate industry are Search Acumen, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner and Womble Bond Dickinson. In a joint authored piece, the trio argue that “technological innovation has been brought into sharp focus during the past 18 months”.

In the world of offices, Orega also forecasts a bright future following the “global work-from-home experiment” created by the pandemic. “The office is not dead,” says Lynsey O’Keefe, chief operating officer at Orega. “However, like all things, it will need to adapt. The future is flexible.”

Finally, there’s Crowe, whose 2021 Real Estate Outlook Report report puts hard numbers on Covid’s impact and long-term implications. More than 66% of respondents to the survey said that economic uncertainty, concerns for consumer confidence and the fallout from the pandemic were the most significant challenges their business had faced in the last 18 months.

Such optimistic talk would have seemed strange at the start of 2021, but as we begin to see the back of Covid, the bullishness and confidence that has always defined the commercial real estate industry is beginning to re-emerge.

Mitchell Labiak is news and finance editor at Property Week