The CEE Summit: ‘A great opportunity for real estate’

The real estate industry has a great opportunity to change and make an impact, delegates heard at the CEE Summit 2019, organised by Poland Today and Real Asset Media, which took place in Warsaw last week.

‘I’ve never seen real estate and the built environment so high up the agenda of all Governments because of rapid urbanisation, and this presents our industry with a great opportunity,’ said Sean Tompkins, Global Chief Executive, RICS.

It is a responsibility as well as an opportunity, he said: ‘The built environment is where we can provide leadership. Demand has never been so high, so innovation and high standards are needed more than ever’.

RICS has been leading a drive to harmonise standards across the industry and introducing ICMS (International Construction Measurement Standards) Data Standard  to allow for an easy comparison of projects across cities and countries, which is important for investors. 

There are three main trends which no industry player can ignore, Tompkins said. The first is that real estate is becoming more of a service and an experience rather than a fixed asset of bricks and concrete.

The second trend is that, despite late-cycle doubts, more capital is being deployed into real estate. ‘We expect more diversification and the uptake of more value-add and opportunistic strategies, as well as more acquisitions of platforms, which is all good news for real estate’, he said.

The third trend is the disruption brought by technology. ‘We’ve been late-comers to digitalisation, as the raw physicality of the assets has been an impediment,’ Tompkins said. ‘But that is changing, as we develop an understanding of how to maximise efficiency and get more returns’. 

We are looking at a future of increased technological capability with the customer experience at the centre, while data analytics will make transactions more efficient. What needs to improve is the transparency and consistency of data. 

‘In future investments will only be directed towards cities that are dealing with climate change and the environmental impact,’ he said. ‘Planning for resilience makes good business sense. It is as simple as that’.

Tompkins had special words of praise for Poland, which is the first CEE country to move from emerging to developed economy status: ‘It is a real milestone, and a reflection of the can-do, entrepreneurial spirit Polish people have’.

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