2021 Property Management Trends
Over the last 18 months there have been many changes to both the property market and the way we work. Today we are discussing what further changes and trends we might expect within the property management world in the near future.
1. Returning to the office
Businesses have proven that they can work from home on a permanent basis, but many are eager to get back into the office and reap the social benefits they have missed out on over the past year.
Data from the Business Insights and Conditions Survey (BICS) showed that of businesses that had not permanently stopped trading, 24% intend to use increased homeworking as a permanent business model going forward, while 28% were not sure.
This data can be questioned when compared to further data from ONS on online job advertisements. By May 2021, online job adverts including terms relating to “homeworking” were being posted at 307% of their February 2020 average level. However, remote working adverts still only account for 8% of total adverts.
It would be fair to assume that there will be a gradual move back into the office for the majority of businesses, but on a much more flexible basis. The adoption of hotdesking and shared office spaces is likely to continue to grow.
However, the recent release of “Plan A and Plan B” has suggested that the government could start to recommend that employees return to working home for “a limited period”, meaning that the return to the office might see another set back for the time being. According to the government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), working from home is one of the most effective ways to reduce social contact. If this is put into action, there will certainly be a delay to the growth of hotdesking and shared office spaces.
2. Second homes
The stamp duty holiday has been praised for keeping the housing market buoyant throughout the economic shock created by the pandemic.
One key trend that has emerged is the growth of the second homes market. People are benefitting from a shorter week in the office and have realised the benefits of life in the countryside, be that from a schooling purpose or personal. In fact, Second home purchases outside of London increased by 83% in the first eight months of 2021 compared to the five-year average, according to Knight Frank data.
So, looking into 2022 we could predict that this market might open up to the international market. According to Knight Frank’s Global Buyer Survey 2021, 33% of international buyers are more likely to buy a second home as a result of Covid-19.
3. Smart Cities
The concept of a smart city has been around for some time and in short means using data as the means to solve the city’s economic, social and environmental challenges.
London has ranked first in the IESE Cities in Motion Index 2020 and has done so since 2017. Edinburgh also features in the top 50 for 2020. However, London performs poorly in the dimensions of social cohesion (64th), and the environment (35th).
Anticipating the next steps, the Smarter London Together project has dedicated resources to environmental issues on their roadmap. Their recent London Environment Strategy: Second Progress Report (2019-2021) lays out key environmental targets, such as the Mayor’s aims for London to be visually greener in the future than it is today and to increase tree canopy cover by ten per cent by 2050. Many, if not most of the issues laid out in the report will have some effect on the property industry, notably the target of zero-carbon city which specifically highlights the need for energy efficient buildings.
4. Headless technology
In the retail space, there has been a growth in headless-commerce architecture, which allows online retailers to separate the back end commerce functions to the front end, what users can see. This has meant that retailers have made it easier for smart phone and device users to buy directly within their apps such as Facebook, Tiktok and even via Alexa.
Looking forward, a more streamlined shopping experience is not only applicable in B2C businesses, but we can expect that B2B offerings will look to expand on the success that retailers have seen. It will be interesting to see how the property management industry might use this technology, which could make it easier for buyers and tenants to communicate with businesses across a wider range of platforms.
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