Real Estate Outlook 2020

Andrew Phipps

Head of EMEA Research

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Outlook 2020

Outlook 2020 addresses the key challenges and opportunities that will define the future of European commercial real estate in 2020 and beyond.


Our EMEA Research & Insight team has looked beyond the traditional property sector report. Outlook 2020 includes a review of:

  • climate risk and real estate impacts;
  • the influence of social value on the spaces we use;
  • what rising construction costs will mean;
  • how both changing demographics and technology will influence the role of property.

All against an unsettled political backdrop. 


 Explore all of the Outlook 2020 articles:

Political & Economic Backdrop

2020 will see major political events across the globe, the U.S. presidential elections and the fall out of the UK general election being just two. The consensus of leading economists is that the chance of a recession in 2020 remains low.   

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The construction industry is under immense pressure to reinvent itself.  Developers and contractors across EMEA are facing increasing financial pressures due to the rising cost of qualified labour, construction materials and land. We look at how construction methods are changing and explore what this means.

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The population in Europe has seen substantial changes over the past 20 years. The population is getting older, urban living has increased and we’re seeing an increase in the number of single-person households. The real estate industry has not kept pace with these changes in demographics. 

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The built environment is responsible for ~40% of energy consumption and 36% of CO2 emissions in the EU. External awareness is increasing, and the real estate industry may find itself in a similar position to transportation and animal agriculture as a target for increased legislation and public anger. 

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Yields in 2020 will remain near historic lows. There will be a lot of capital chasing too few opportunities, competition could drive investors into pushing yields lower. However, investors with a higher risk appetite may not want to settle for low income returns.   

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The headline news is of course that logistics real estate will continue to be driven by key trends in ecommerce, technology and labour availability. The average warehouse size has increased and there will a continued demand for warehouses in excess of 50,000 sq m.

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Mixed Use

The new generation of developments will be different: genuine multi-functional spaces offering increased flexibility, the creation of experiences and maximum connectivity. Three key elements will drive success: efficient use of space, customisation and finally, a sustainable approach to placemaking. 

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Employers are increasingly searching for workplaces that encourage collaboration, stimulate efficiency, increase satisfaction at work and contribute to life / work balance. Companies need to bring their people, place and technology functions along with the rest of the business in an integrated way.   

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Societal change

Technological progress is having a profound impact on how society consumes goods, knowledge and space. The real estate industry has a critical role to play in providing space that allows people and businesses to evolve. 

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Changes in technology will continue to have a powerful impact on the real estate industry. The adoption of new digital processes will quicken and a deeper understanding of how to fully utilise the data our industry creates will be a major focus in 2020.

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The retail sector is evolving in the face of a set of powerful technological, social, demographic and economic forces. We can shop anywhere at any time via our smartphones, yet the most amazing stores ever seen continue to prosper. Success is all about truly understanding the consumer.   

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Special feature
(changing CBD)

The monocentric nature of the ‘traditional’ city centre has morphed in to a polycentric dynamic. We are seeing cities with ‘many’ centres become more common, centres that have evolved around technology, people and above all to meet a particular need.   

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