Outlook 2020

The Christmas lights are up (since October actually) and Advent calendars have now been opened. With two full weeks to Christmas, the accountants are already totting up the P&Ls and minds are turning to 2020. And yet there is a massive elephant in the room that remains to be resolved before we can do that. The RMT has elected to suspend its 27-day strike action on 12 December to allow South Western Railway passengers the ability to travel to vote in the General Election (my fellow passengers will be overjoyed). The question for many is which way will they vote, or will they even bother? A poll last month showed that more than 50% of voters now classify themselves as floating voters. Whilst this might compound the uncertainty, polls of this nature are being shown to be increasingly fallible. Stochastic modelling of political results used to be dominated by polling data but now investment managers are turning to more complex, AI based models that look at social media feeds and betting odds, among other factors. The latter put the Conservatives as dead certs to win most seats and clear favourites to obtain an overall majority. Be wary before placing your bet. There is a danger that this singular focus obfuscates bigger longer-term trends that present themselves to real estate investors and occupiers during 2020 and beyond. The themes of the society, technology, sustainability and the workplace are enduring ones, with all of these cleaving a clearer path through the world of real estate in recent years. My EMEA Research colleagues have collated thinking on a range of thematic issues that set a prospectus for the coming years. It’s essential reading over a jug of egg nog.