PwC: Logistics ranked no.1

for Investment in Europe

General economic outlook is positive, with expectations for profits and headcounts to increase in 2018, according to Emerging Trends in Real Estate®: Europe 2018 survey by PwC & Urban Land Institute, based on 512 respondents from across 22 European countries. The key issues impacting businesses this year are the availability of suitable assets/land and construction costs.



Given the impact of technology upon real estate, industrial sector is ranked number one for investment and development prospects in 2018, largely on the back of the growth in online retail sales.

“Technological change is clearly playing out in the retail sector, and as retail shrinks, logistics expands, as does the last-mile delivery convenience to the consumer”, says one global capital markets adviser.


Until recently, residential was seen by many institutional players as a niche sector, and for some, too specialist. Today, the industry appears less bothered by the obstacles to investment and increasingly swayed by the opportunities that could emerge from huge housing shortages across Europe. The Emerging Trends Europe survey reveals availability of affordable housing as one of the key social problems facing the industry in 2018 – more of a concern than environmental issues and mass migration.


Redevelopment is the most attractive way to acquire prime assets, thus translating into a low-risk strategy based on astute asset management and refurbishment rather than a hasty return to speculative development.


The greater importance attached to asset management reinforces the trend by institutional investors towards employing fewer and larger managers. Low returns and a lack of product in a late-cycle market have underlined the importance of “smart asset management”.

We are not going to be able to generate the returns we want by buying assets and sitting on them,” says one pan-European investment manager. “We have to think about the management of the tenants, refurbishment and re-gearing.


The rise of the flexible office sector and co-working stands out in Emerging Trends Europe. They are much more than simply property buzzwords but, as the interviews reveal, a workplace phenomenon whose influence has taken hold of the European industry in a profound way since last year’s report.

As landlords we have to be more flexible,” says one convert to co-working. “Tenants are asking for shorter leases and break options. It requires a change in mindset and a willingness to take more risk.
“Not everything is going to be WeWork,” says one value-add investor. “I still think there’s a huge amount of money to be made in traditional offices with larger occupiers. But the proportion of the market will grow for co-working, smaller companies, incubator space. Flexibility within buildings – the ability to sub-divide – becomes increasingly important, which comes back to obsolescence.

Emerging Trends in Real Estate® Europe 2018 reveals an industry that is becoming more complex, yet more transparent and accessible. Whatever the outcome, it is certain that the industry will need new skill sets, new ways of collaborating outside traditional industry boundaries and new business models to survive and compete in the new real estate ecosystem. You can read more info about the survey here.