Alan Simmonds, the uber-talented 80-year-old journalist who survived Covid-19 twice, said something to me last week that remained with me after our conversation.
I can guarantee you, he said, the one thing that will still be here long after the pandemic is gone, will be property.
And Alan, a man who has predicted many world events, is right. We all need a roof over our heads, places from where we can work and get an education, rooms to eat, sleep, celebrate, and at times to mourn.
Much of the time these are bricks and mortar spaces and even though people have had a tough time all around – unemployment, a sluggish economy, growing debt, and a national Budget that failed to dazzle – the property industry continues to tick over.
Depending on which agencies you are talking to, some are doing exceptionally well, others are crawling along, but still with their heads above water and sadly there are some who did not survive the three-month 2020 shut down.
It has been a tough year globally on all fronts and yet reports such as Knight Frank’s forthcoming edition of The Wealth Report 2021, shows private capital was undeterred by the Covid-19 pandemic, with continued investment in commercial real estate around the world.
The volume of private capital invested globally was circa US$232 billion – 9% above the 10-year average, albeit down on 2019 levels.
All this bodes well on a real estate stage even though there are no absolute predictors of what the future will hold.
However, future thinkers and astute industry heads know – no matter what Black Swan events may emerge (again perhaps) – there are ways to reinvent industries to make them more compassionate, successful and, well, as safe as houses.