Many people, especially those of the younger generations, are looking for an amenity-rich, creative residential product. In Manchester, for example, recently completed schemes such as Deansgate Square have been continually raising the bar. It includes the tallest building outside of London in the UK and provides residents with concierge, leisure facilities, dining areas and social spaces within the development – as well as a central location. It’s not the only one; 2021 will also see the completion of several more high quality build-to-rent schemes in Manchester, such as Crown Street, Circle Square and Greengate.
City-centre residential markets will continue to evolve and adapt, as they have done over the past 10 years. We will see greater diversity in the marketplace, as innovative residential developers, funders and operators seek out new niches such as co-living, inter-generational living and affordable concepts.
Return of Hospitality
Whilst the pandemic hit all industries, hospitality was particularly devastated. CGA and UKHospitality estimated a year-on-year fall of some £17bn in revenue, creating a wave of high-profile administrations and closure of independent businesses across the UK.
This is, though, very much down to enforced closure, rather than a loss in consumer appetite. We are already seeing this with the reopening of other leisure industries, with football stadiums across England easily selling out their government-sanctioned allocations.
Pending a lift of event restrictions, hospitality is primed for a revival in 2021, particularly in cities that enjoy a vibrant culture, events and sport scene. According to the 2020 Live Nation Global Impact of COVID-19 on Live Events Benchmark Study, 91% of music goers will return to attend live events when restrictions are lowered, followed closely by cinema (87%), theatre (78%) and sporting events (75%). 91% of live music ticket holders still plan on attending shows they currently hold tickets for and 79% expect a return to live music events within the next four months.
This will also coincide with a bounce-back in the hotel sector, but I expect the recovery will extend beyond 2021. 71% of respondents to Deloitte’s Hotel Sector Survey last September were positive about the long-term future of the UK hotel market and expect a rise in both investment activity and profitability over the next five years – although just over half believe it will take more than two years for performance to reach pre-pandemic levels.
2020 has been as challenging a year as I have known in my career, but I believe we can be optimistic about the year ahead. Fundamentals of the regional market are strong, there is a joint focus on building back better from the pandemic and this could be an exciting time for innovation as we adapt to the post-COVID world.