Property Week 2020 vision: predictions for the year ahead

January 2020

At the beginning of a new year and decade, Director, Johnny reveals his hopes, expectations and resolutions for 2020.

Boris Johnson’s election victory was delivered by northern constituencies and now his government needs to fully support the north by ensuring it has world-class infrastructure and high-quality homes to support a growing workforce.

Regional cities are on the up. Attracting serious investment and major occupiers and transport and housing are essential to continuing that growth and it is crucial that the new government delivers what it has already promised, while also exploring what other projects may be needed.

Homeownership was at the heart of Conservative housing policy but there needs to be a recognition that renting is increasingly a lifestyle choice.

Build-to-rent can also help regional economies grow by allowing talent to move easily between opportunities and supporting regeneration efforts through accelerated delivery and higher absorption rates than for-sale housing.

Property and the economy as a whole will likely see a ‘Boris bounce’ while regional cities will continue to thrive thanks to rising graduate retention rates, improved employment opportunities and affordability, as well as thriving leisure and culture scenes.

In real estate, the trends we are already seeing – the move away from physical retail, traditional offices and owner-occupation – will accelerate. That’s why as a group our focus is on ‘beds and sheds’: delivering mid- and big-box facilities to service Britain’s e-commerce boom as well as progressing with our Moda Living BTR pipeline.

The changes in retail and commercial mean the nature of anchor tenants that typically underpin mixed-use projects will also change. Investors will increasingly look to the public realm, cultural occupiers and even residential to tie together schemes and give them an identity and sense of destination.

Resolutions: We’re committed to delivering our £5bn development pipeline, focusing on BTR, the living sector and industrial and logistics. Having started on phase one of SOYO, our new £300m neighbourhood in Leeds city centre, we will also progress with city centre sites across the country and central London.

Angel Gardens is obviously another key priority. We saw really healthy demand for apartments ahead of the building opening and with the first residents in, we want to redefine what it means to rent, setting new market benchmarks while also delivering our other sites as well as acquiring new ones.