It is no surprise that housing - or rather the lack of it - features strongly in the sixth edition of Perspectives, Property Week’s series of thought leadership essays from key industry figures.
As the general election campaign demonstrated, addressing the housing crisis is at last recognised by all serious political parties as a key priority, just like funding for the NHS or national security.
Building more homes is a national imperative and there is broad agreement that encouraging SME housebuilders to build more is a key part of cracking this particular rebus. Finding a way to address the long-term decline of SMEs will require the government and the industry to work together to come up with a solution, as LendInvest Capital’s Rod Lockhart writes.
One important part of the problem is access to finance. While on so many levels the country is in an immeasurably better place than it was in the dark days of the global financial crisis, the same cannot be said for the world of residential development finance, which remains far below peak 2006-07 levels and is a particular issue for SMEs.
However, a new breed of private lenders is helping to repair the situation - something that Justin Faiz at Pluto Finance addresses in his contribution. A range of products addressing both affordability and availability has to be part of the solution.
Technology at the heart of strategy
Other pressing issues are addressed elsewhere in this edition of Perspectives. For instance, Yardi’s Mike Cook advises on how investment managers can best use technology to maximise efficiency. For so long seen as a threat to traditional business models, technology is now at the heart of most progressive firms’ strategies.
Environmental concerns are also tackled head-on, with Vicky Cotton at Workman writing about how owners and managers of commercial property must now work to mitigate the risk of the forthcoming Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards. The standards, which come into force in April next year, could render swathes of offices unlettable. The industry has been slow to wake up to the fact and Cotton offers some pragmatic advice.
Finally, Derek Griffin at Premier Inn explains how, by taking a flexible approach, the hotel group hopes to reach its 85,000-room target by 2020 - a highly ambitious goal to be sure.
Property is an energised and energising industry to be a part of. The flipside of that is that it can be difficult to step back and, well, get a bit of perspective. As ever, we hope this collection of essays provides just that.
Adam Branson is Property Week’s associate editor (features)
If you would like to get involved with the next issue in November 2017, please contact Matthew Hoare, sales manager - southern division, Property Week.
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