According to research by Savills, real estate is by far the largest store of wealth globally, with an estimated value of USD280 trillion at the end of 2017, around 50% more than the total value of equities and debt securities.
Residential properties account for almost 80% of this value, with the remainder split fairly evenly between commercial and agricultural properties. Despite accounting just 18% of the world’s population, 45% of residential property wealth is concentrated in Europe and North America.
A key trend in commercial property in recent years has been the rise of buildings developed into co-working spaces where freelancers and people employed by different companies share the same office space. WeWork, the best-known player in this market, was forced to cancel its initial public offering in 2019 and subsequently replaced its CEO and announced plans to curtail its rapid global expansion. However, the trend towards more flexible office rental appears to have taken hold and various forecasts suggest that the total number of co-working spaces worldwide will grow from around 18 000 in 2019 to somewhere between 26 000 and 36 000 in 2025.
In the UK, the real estate industry contributes around GBP100 billion annually to the economy, or around 7% of GDP. Two million jobs are also directly and indirectly supported by the industry. The ambition of home ownership is more strongly rooted in the British psyche than the French or German, but more than a decade of low interest rates, coupled with shortages of land to develop new properties in areas of high demand, have pushed the price of residential property beyond the reach of many young people.
FieldworkHub’s experience in the real estate industry include projects in the UK for two different operators of co-working spaces, interviews with flat and house renters in London, interviews with estate agents in London, and a major study on the market for retirement accommodation in London and the South East.