Is it possible to make property predictions in this era?

The future is always unwritten and the pandemic has brought a deep sense of uncertainty. Now more than ever, planning and forecasting seem almost impossible, but it is always safer to consider all variables and think ahead.

Evidently, there are few players who have as much information and expertise as Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. Therefore, we present the top 10 predictions from JLL regarding real estate for this new era.

1.There will be an accelerated recovery in consumer demand and retail sales after the release of pent-up demand. Predominantly, online sales are forecast to fall this year with the prospect of the vaccine allowing more people to return to work, reducing homeworking, and increasing consumers’ ability and confidence to visit physical retail places.

2. Younger groups will drive consumer recovery: socializing remains a crucial aspect of their lives, and during the pandemic, no were no new sustainable alternatives for entertainment.

3. There will be more sudden and radical changes coming from brands as demanding consumers continue their search for the best products, price and service.

4. Stronger operators will successfully navigate through the crisis. Retailer distress will continue in 2021. There will be a polarized recovery: not all sectors will recover to previous levels. For instance, there will be a necessary cull of fashion brands, allowing fresh operators to emerge.

5. Retailers should adapt their business models in order to succeed, considering Portfolio right-sizing: the stores that remain must have an intense focus on service and expert knowledge; Flexibility: flexible leases and formats are increasingly important for retailer and investor real estate strategies in a dynamic environment; Omnicanality: a structural shift towards omnichannel fulfillment is accelerating; Consumer centered perspective: those occupiers who embrace the needs of consumers ahead of channels and capital will succeed.

6. It is easy to forecast a green recovery. Retailers with sustainability at their core will outperform in the years to come. Recycling, reselling, and renting goods will become mainstream.

7. Stabilization of assets in the second half of 2021 will drive the return of investor interest. Due to a combination of economic recovery, vaccine-led consumer demand, and a bottoming-out of the occupier market, we should witness a stabilization of retail assets. In turn, this will lead to a recovery in the investment market and investor interest will return, attracted by affordable pricing (and better availability).

8. Smaller supermarket anchored shopping centers, stand-alone food stores, and factory outlet centers will continue to be resilient and attract interest.

9. Strategically located retail parks/shopping centers will arise. Developers in particular will focus on acquiring strategic land in the most accretive locations.

10. In turn, appropriate repurposing of obsolete assets will accelerate. This is linked to both higher alternative use-values and sustainability. Basically, the repurposing of these obsolete buildings could facilitate a greener future for real estate.

It is safe to say that most of these predictions are already taking place, while others are easy to foresee in the near future. With Summer approaching, American and European markets will definitely see an improvement compared to the previous year. But one thing is for sure: only those actors who adapt and innovate will definitely rise.

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