The Great Reset in Real Estate: An Era of New Norms

by | Nov 9, 2023 | Market Analysis

The year 2023 marked the beginning of what industry leaders are calling “The Great Reset” in the real estate sector. This transformation is not just a reaction to the pandemic’s upheaval but a series of calculated responses to the evolving economic, social, and environmental demands of the 21st century. As we look forward to 2024 and beyond, it’s clear that the real estate industry is setting new benchmarks and that past trends can no longer predict future market behavior.

Understanding the Great Reset

“The Great Reset” refers to a fundamental reevaluation and reconfiguration of real estate practices and principles. It encompasses the adoption of new technologies, the prioritization of sustainable development, the reimagining of workspaces, and a recalibration of market strategies to align with the changing world.

New Benchmarks and Norms

The Urban Land Institute (ULI) and PwC’s Emerging Trends in Real Estate® 2024 report frames “The Great Reset” as an industry-wide acknowledgment that the old ways of doing business are no longer viable. As we emerge from the pandemic, it’s evident that the real estate industry faces profound shifts, not only in how properties are developed and managed but also in how they are valued and traded.

Economic Headwinds and Credit Challenges

Despite economic headwinds and challenges with obtaining credit, there are opportunities available for high-quality properties that meet the needs of investors and tenants. Firms must learn to ride out the current short-term risks and adapt their growth strategy to succeed in this period of higher-for-longer interest rates.

Retail Resilience and the Hybrid Work Model

The retail sector’s outlook is exceeding expectations, with tenant demand skyrocketing over the past 18 months. This resilience suggests a reassessment of the sector more than a dramatic recent shift in supply and demand dynamics. Moreover, the acceptance of hybrid work models indicates that the office sector will not be returning to its pre-pandemic state, as work and commuting preferences have permanently shifted.

The Sun Belt’s Appeal

The Sun Belt continues to attract households, firms, and investors due to its lower regulations, taxes, and growing labor force. The region has demonstrated a strong market correlation between overall real estate prospect ratings and home builder ratings. However, climate change risks could impact the trend of positive investment seen in this region.

Debt Dynamics and AI Integration

The industry is navigating rapidly rising federal debt, which could potentially crowd out private investments, leading to slower economic growth and higher interest rates. These conditions could delay property construction, investments, and returns. At the same time, advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) are showing promise in enhancing property search and analysis processes, reshaping how investments are assessed.

The Ten Pillars of The Great Reset

For real estate investors and professionals, “The Great Reset” is defined by ten critical pillars that are expected to shape the industry:

  1. Sustainability and ESG: Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) considerations have moved from the periphery to the center of real estate investment strategies. Properties that adhere to ESG criteria are not only seen as more resilient but also more likely to attract investment and premium valuations.
  2. Technology and Innovation: The use of AI and other technologies in property management, transaction processing, and even construction is changing the way the industry operates. Investors who can leverage these technologies will find themselves at a competitive advantage.
  3. Urbanization and Mobility: The growth of cities and the changing patterns of mobility, both physical and digital, are altering the demand for real estate. Investors will need to understand these patterns to predict where demand will grow.
  4. Demographic Shifts: Aging populations in developed countries and the rise of the millennial demographic in emerging markets are influencing real estate demand. Investors will need to cater to the needs of these demographics.
  5. Workplace Evolution: The shift to hybrid and remote work is leading to a reevaluation of office space needs. There is a growing demand for flexible, tech-enabled, and well-located spaces that cater to new work models.
  6. Retail Transformation: The retail sector is undergoing a transformation, with the rise of e-commerce driving demand for logistics spaces and changing the nature of retail spaces.
  7. Affordability and Accessibility: The increasing focus on affordability and accessibility is driving changes in how housing is developed and financed. Investors are looking at new models to deliver housing that is affordable and accessible to a broader population.
  8. Health and Wellness: The pandemic has heightened the focus on health and wellness in real estate. Investors are incorporating these considerations into their developments to meet the growing demand for healthier living and working environments.
  9. Regulatory Changes: Changes in regulation, particularly around zoning and land use, are impacting real estate development. Investors will need to stay ahead of these changes to avoid potential pitfalls.
  10. Global Capital Flows: The flow of capital across borders is influencing real estate markets worldwide. Investors will need to understand these flows to identify opportunities and risks.

Looking Ahead

As we look towards the future, “The Great Reset” represents both a challenge and an opportunity for the real estate industry. It calls for a reimagining of how we develop, manage, and invest in real estate to create more sustainable, resilient, and equitable communities.

For investors, this means embracing new technologies, considering the long-term social and environmental impact of their investments, and being prepared to adapt to the changing demands of tenants and end-users. It also means being cognizant of the macroeconomic trends that will shape the industry in the years to come.

In conclusion, “The Great Reset” is not just a moment in time but an ongoing process that will continue to evolve the real estate industry. Those who can navigate this new era with foresight, flexibility, and a commitment to innovation will be well-placed to thrive in the years ahead.


Resources

Urban Land Institute (ULI) and PwC US – Emerging Trends in Real Estate® 2024 report overview:

ULI Americas

The theme of “The Great Reset” for the Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2024 report by ULI and PwC US:

CommercialSearch

The highlight of major trends including “Higher and slower for longer” from the Emerging Trends in Real Estate® 2024 report:

Urban Land Institute

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