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Our market

What's happening in our chosen market

Urbanisation

Opportunity

The UK population is expected to grow to c.72 million by 2040 – a 7% increase on today (ONS, 2019). Over 80% of this is urban (UN, 2019). This is putting pressure on our towns and cities to offer the required infrastructure, public places, services and amenities – as well as new homes. Post Covid-19, more than ever, places need to be ‘safe’ and accommodate new living, working and socialising behaviours. The growing population is also driving the need for new and affordable housing, which the Government has committed to address by targeting building 300,000 new homes a year. On the supply side, brownfield sites in England could provide more than 970,000 homes, but 40% don’t yet have planning permission.

Our response

We look for places that we can improve, many of them underloved or overlooked. Typically, these sites are too complex for REITs and too mixed in use for housebuilders, but they suit us perfectly. We believe developments can only work when people are prioritised, so we take the time to delve into the history and character of these sites and reflect these in our scheme. We often partner with the private or public sector – including TfL, MoD, local authorities and central/local government – to generate optimal returns from existing assets and unlock their potential. We are growing our golf course portfolio, and currently own over 500 acres of brownfield greenbelt land with the potential for over 2,500 homes. We have submitted planning for 1,125 homes to date.

War for talent

Opportunity

Attracting and retaining talent and supporting innovation in the UK, by providing the infrastructure and quality mixed-use spaces where people are proud to live, work, play and study. As many companies emerge with smaller workforces following Covid-19, retaining existing talent will be more important than ever. Attractive, agile workplaces that meet changing employee behavioural needs, whilst delivering something extra, are increasingly critical to engaging staff, improving wellbeing, enhancing individual and collective productivity and enhancing a business’ overall performance.

Our response

We understand the importance of creating amenity-rich, customised work spaces, that provide positive and productive experiences that support mental and physical wellbeing and promote employee satisfaction. Our schemes are designed with occupiers in mind.  They provide a flexible business solution giving companies – of any shape, size or purpose – an edge to attract and retain talent, and, in turn, increase their competitiveness.

Political and regulatory uncertainty

Opportunity

Ongoing Brexit negotiations, leadership changes, local and general elections, new policies and regulations create risks and opportunities as companies and consumers adapt to a constantly changing landscape. Whilst confidence slowly returned in early January, Covid-19 has refocused resources, delayed policies and decision-making, halting progress in major areas, such as housing. London’s ranking as the second most powerful financial centre in the world (Z/Yen 2020 Global Financial Centres Index), with a strong and transparent regulatory framework, means international businesses will continue to headquarter and invest in the UK capital.

Our response

Our size and flexibility mean we can anticipate and respond quickly to change. Demand for housing and mixed-use regeneration ensures it remains an urgent priority for the Government, particularly post Covid-19.  We work closely with all political parties towards policies and a regulatory framework that will help communities to prosper and allow under-resourced local authorities to realise value from their unused assets. Dublin is benefitting from Brexit as Ireland continues to have the best GDP potential over the next five years (CBRE, 2019) and Manchester from increased government investment.

Wellbeing and sustainability

Opportunity

Covid-19 has changed our expectations of space, as demand shifts to flexible, quality environments – that are also clean and spacious – that promote healthy living and working, whilst encouraging happiness and wellbeing. Buildings need to provide better solutions to climate change through their design, automation, energy management systems and surrounding environment, whilst also driving productivity and efficiency.

Our response

We listen to our stakeholders’ needs before we start a project. Our creative, collaborative approach means we can design agile places with end-users at their heart, supporting changing needs post Covid-19. All our schemes aim to deliver positive social impact, encouraging healthy living and working.  Typically, our buildings are created with locally procured, renewable materials and offer green space to encourage cycling and walking, as well as a range of leisure amenities. Demand for the best spaces will continue as flexibility, environmental sustainability and AI are expected to be requirements of space.

Future proofing

Opportunity

In a rapidly changing world, where shifting trends – and the impact of Covid-19 – influence how we live, work, shop and play, cities will only meet their growth challenges if they support innovation, are sustainable and stay relevant. To do so requires designing for radical flexibility and efficiency suited to the catchment area, so local people, companies and talent – as well as consumers and visitors – will choose to live, work and shop there. The most attractive businesses are those that provide the best environments, work-life balance, transport and amenities to make life as enjoyable and manageable as possible.

Our response

We understand that real estate is more than a physical product; it is a flexible,  customer centric service. That is why we have invested in cutting-edge innovations in property – such as WiredScore, Matterport and Plus X – to help inform our approach and allow us to be early adopters of new technologies to create next generation safe, sustainable buildings. Our close relationships with our partners allow us to challenge our designs and approach, share knowledge, understand trends and deliver responsible places that will meet current and future needs.

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