Future of Cities Globally and Construction Industry trends - and UK property market trends. Zero carbon homes, offices and infrastructure. Modern Methods of Construction, offsite modular construction, impact of digital tools. Construction Keynote speaker

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Despite all the real estate booms and busts that we will see in major cities around the world over the next three decades, more than $100 trillion dollars will be added in real terms to the total value of global real estate, from $228 trillion in 2017 to 2035, simply because cities are expanding, economies are growing, and numbers of middle-class property owners are rising. And the COVID pandemic did not alter that trend, despite all the media hype.

Globalised travellers remain near airport hubs

Beyond the impact of COVID in 2020-2021 onwards, all globalised executives will continue to need to be close to a large international airport, however virtual their teams. This ‘hub effect’ will also be true of high-speed trains.

There is simply no substitute for "breathing the same air" when it comes to landing new contracts, or managing complex operations in other nations.

Those who are fed up with city life can afford the luxury of bucking the trend, going ‘back to nature’, getting out of cities for a greener life, greater security, lower costs. However, the wealthiest will just live in both, with two, three, ten or twenty homes. An increasing number of super-wealthy will have private helicopters and planes that link their offices, homes, hotels and holidays direct.

Future of the UK property market - 15 reasons for long term investment returns

UK property prices will be linked to the future of London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow and other major cities.

As I predicted many years ago and more recently real estate has remained a good long-term investment, despite the 2008-9 crash for many reasons.

1. Rapidly growing population due to net immigration – unlikely to fall as dramatically as many think post-Brexit as net migration from non-EU nations has been running at over 250,000 a year compared to only 74,000 from the EU in 2018

2. Acute shortage of land for new housing in a tiny island, and severe planning controls

3. Outsourced jobs in other nations coming back to the UK (eg call centres) as it becomes more competitive due to low wage inflation and exchange rates

4. Steady recovery of the banking sector

5. Strong growth in services and creative industries

6. UK seen as safer haven for investors than other regions where there is conflict

7. Family breakup means smaller households, more homes

8. Ageing population, and better care to help stay at home

9. Equity release by parents to help children buy property

10. Bank of England policies to keep interest rates low, until certain of recovery, even if the result is a new real estate boom

11. Low rates of return from government bonds, bank deposits and company shares so real estate more attractive

12. Many people don’t trust pension saving and prefer property

13. Traditional mind-set/psychology of property ownership as an investment

14. No capital gains tax on your own home ‒ yet

15. Tax benefits for personal pension funds that own property.

Future of London will be strong

The population of London has grown by more than 1 million in a decade and, despite Brexit, will grow by a further million in the next 20 years, while the number of houses will hardly increase. In the medium term, London will continue to experience a top-end boost from international buyers who are worried about the future of their own nations, and whether they might need to make a rapid transfer of assets or even of their families. 

London will continue to be firmly placed near the top of the world order in popularity as a “good” place to live. Private schools and private health care are world class, and streets are so safe that police don’t routinely carry guns. London is likely to remain France’s sixth biggest city by French population, for the next 15 years.

Restaurants and wine bars have multiplied, together with cinemas, hotels and nightclubs. London has become one vast work and leisure complex offering the very best of world-class time out for busy executives, round the clock.  Some of this will be dampened by Brexit, until the UK economy adjusts to exploit new markets.

London will continue to be a major global centre of financial services, despite post-Brexit efforts by the EU to end its regional near-monopoly. Expect a fierce fight from London to remain the main player for global foreign exchange. The City will struggle to retain the world’s largest collection of foreign banking offices. There will be growing competition from New York and Shanghai, together with Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Mumbai – but the pull of Paris and Frankfurt will be less than many predict. London’s banks and other financial services will remain dominant employers, even though the total number of workers is unlikely to match that of before the 2008 economic crisis, until beyond 2025 or beyond.

London will also continue to be a huge magnet for creative, imaginative people – for free thinkers, digital marketers, computer games designers, film-makers, artists, entrepreneurs, FinTech startups, management consultants and advisors. Expect London’s tech workforce to grow by at least 5% a year for the next decade, fuelled by a flood of new venture capital, much of it from other nations.

Property in America, Eastern Europe, China and Russia

As I predicted, America’s real estate market recovered by 2016 across almost the entire country, following the crash of 2008-2010. and the US has grown well.

Some East European countries suffered over 40% falls in house prices in the 2008-2011 crisis, and in some nations like Ukraine it will be some time still before these levels are seen again. In contrast, China’s evolving real estate market will continue to wobble from booms to busts across different regions, as the nation rapidly urbanises, in a poorly balanced process driven by migrations, real estate developers, over-ambitious property owners, varying availability of credit, and government policies.

It will take more than 50 years to replace Stalin’s world across the former Soviet Union: concrete, identical, low-grade apartment blocks, to rehouse 175 million people who still live in them. 

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