Webinar: What is the Future of Real Estate
On 12 January, the UK India Business Council hosted its first webinar of the new year discussing what the future of real estate will look like in 2021 and beyond.
UKIBC Associate Director Daxa Bharadwa moderated the discussion led by Bruce Dear, Head of the London Real Estate Group at Eversheds Sutherland, Rob Groves, Regional Director at Argent (Property Services) Developments LLP, and Anurag Mathur, CEO for Savills India.
Bruce Dear began by stating that diseases regularly redesign the world, and the human population has always adapted accordingly. He went on to discuss how retail can thrive again, noting it will need to be more omnichannel with more robust and highspeed online and delivery capability. Offices remain very attractive and efficient places to work, with office life likely evolving into an agile blend of home working, smaller office hubs and high-quality serviced offices.
As we work toward the return to the high street, affordable housing will become a sector of real interest. Bruce highlighted that vibrant, mixed use communities will be highly sought after. Although these are dark days, investors have a chance to grasp the usual recession opportunities and follow investment flows dictated by long term trends of the real estate market, many of which are intensified by COVID-19.
Rob Groves discussed the importance of passive learning and how the office contributes to it. He agreed with Bruce in saying that the office is not dead. Offices are still needed to get the best out of us as humans. While humans are social beings who are best working with other people, we will see more of a homelife and work life balance.
Rob added that while the workplace will be much more about rationalisation of space than before, the location of offices will be even more important. The office destination must be able to attract people in with an environment which nurtures the best social engagement.
Anurag Mathur covered the Indian real estate sector through 2020, focusing on the commercial office sector and the industrial and warehousing sector. He shared the global economic scenario, which showed India at the lowest GDP annual percent change in 2020, but notably showed it is poised for the biggest leap this year, projected to be 8.8%.
Anurag analysed the commercial office, which is the most evolved sector in India. In 2018 and 2019, it saw record-breaking absorptions for two consecutive years – though 2020 was expected to be even better, COVID-19 disrupted this increase. Comparatively, the industrial and warehouse sector is still developing. Two reasons for this are India’s consumption driven economy, and the fact that the world is trying to find order with China.
Anurag commented on Indian investments in real estate. Sector investment preferences for 2021 include warehousing, data centres, residential, and office developments (respectively). He concluded with how 2020 impacted real estate and an outlook moving forward.
Many thanks to our exceptional speakers for providing their time and resources for this webinar. If you were unable to join our session on the day, or would like to go through the webcast again, we invite you to watch the webinar below for the discussion in full as well as view some of the resources which have been provided on this topic.