Gabriella De La Torre, Director at CBRE in her piece on Thoughts and predictions on the UAE real estate sector in 2021, says that from a market perspective, it is clear that 2020 has accelerated a number of key trends such as the growth of e-commerce and adopting more flexible living and working arrangements.
“The outbreak of COVID-19 has triggered a shift in mentality, for both employees and employers and supported by the technological development we will not fully go back to the previous, inflexible work from office setting rather than adopting and evolving to a hybrid approach. We expect these trends to continue into 2021, highlighting the importance of delivering and providing the right type of real estate which responds to these shifts in consumer behaviour,” she says.
What about investors? What can investors expect in 2021? According to Marie Puybaraud, Director of global research at real estate advisory JLL, how investors will refocus during an economic downturn is always closely watched.
For Puybaraud, in her article 5 big questions, real estate is asking in 2021, the year ahead represents a cautious-but-confident approach, supporting demand for premium office buildings in big cities.
“There has also been a shift toward sectors that became increasingly important during the health crisis. Logistics assets, already one of the hottest sectors in recent years, are set to receive increased allocations amid the boom in online shopping. Data centres, multifamily and life sciences real estate are also increasingly in investors’ crosshairs,” she says.
After a year when investors stayed closer to home, JLL expects a rise in cross-border investment in some markets.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THE UAE & SAUDI ARABIA'S REAL ESTATE SECTOR IN 2021?
CBRE’s De La Torre says that she expects the UAE and Saudi Arabia to remain key focus areas in 2021.
“In the case of the UAE, the market fundamentals are looking positive, supported by the government’s quick and assured response to the pandemic as well as the range of new initiatives and reforms, which we expect to support future investment and further bolster market confidence.
In Saudi Arabia, ambitious plans for new investment and real estate development in line with Vision 2030 are also expected to support economic growth, creating various opportunities in key sectors, such as hospitality, entertainment and logistics.”
THE ROLE OF TECHNOLOGY IN REAL ESTATE
Experts remain undivided that technology’s role in real estate will only accelerate in 2021.
As technology becomes increasingly intertwined with office buildings, retail centres and warehouses, smart building tools will aid the real estate sector in understanding how safe and healthy their spaces are.
“From our perspective, data and analytics platforms are key and will continue to transform the way we operate and the way we service our clients.
As technology and big data continue to grow across the globe, more and more of our clients are interested in leveraging on the robust capabilities of PropTech across all real estate sectors,” says De La Torre.