A series of unprecedented challenges have impacted the property sector in the months since the pandemic hit in March 2020. What are the prospects for the industry? Emerging trends interviews with industry leaders revealed that one of the most obvious themes was the surprising resilience of the economy and property markets in general, increasing industry confidence that it can adapt to changing market conditions and future unknown risks.
When a devastating COVID-19 pandemic crisis took hold in Europe, its economy was hit with epic losses of output and jobs, but the economy started to rebound almost as quickly as it had shut down, confounding initial expectations of a lengthy recession and then a long recovery period. According to the official arbiters of business cycles, the recession lasted only two months, the shortest recession in history. By the mid of 2022, it is likely that the economy will be back to pre-COVID levels, and jobs will reach levels close to pre-COVID levels.
It would be vastly overstating the situation to say that property markets pivoted without skipping a beat. It was a challenge just to keep doing business for the firms and workers who were on the front lines. Several sectors in the property market went through urgent changes in the last year. However, the retail sector probably was the most impacted.
To meet the shifting consumer demand and overcome severe shortages, retailers had to scale up home delivery and curbside pickup services. Working from home forced many people to adapt their own living spaces on the fly. This flexibility is a key Emerging Trends theme this year.