How is 2020 shaping up for the property and construction industry?

This month marks not just the start of a new year but also a new decade. This is an exciting prospect and can only mean one thing: 2020 predictions. Account manager Charlotte Dove has therefore gathered a selection from across the property and construction industry to offer a real insight into the year ahead.

2020 predictions from the property and construction industry

As I’m sure you’re well aware, here at Cartwright we consider ourselves experts in the property and construction industry. We can whip up a press release on a successful planning application or create a content plan to launch a new housing development in no time.

However, we’re only as good as the intel we’re given by our clients. Therefore, when thinking about what 2020 will bring for the industry I thought it only right to turn to the specialists. Some of my clients, colleagues and friends have very kindly given me their predictions for the year ahead and it makes for an interesting read.

In a nutshell, it all seems very positive with everyone keen to leave the uncertainty of Brexit in 2019. Of course, certain challenges still prevail such as unlocking land and tackling the skills shortage. However, with high levels of enquiry and a clear focus for the year ahead, I think we’re set for a pretty good 2020.

Ian Carey, director at Pulse Consult – a multi-disciplinary construction and property consultancy.

“Pulse is looking forward to some strong growth in 2020. Our offices in the Midlands and London have started the year with a higher than normal level of enquiry. This suggests that the industry is starting to respond positively to the funding certainty that was lacking in previous years.

“We are focusing our efforts on growing our residential, infrastructure, education and health teams during 2020. We are also forecasting a positive reaction to work flowing into the regions, we hope to capitalise on this with office openings planned for the North and West of the UK in 2020.”

Shruti Trivedi, partner and head of planning at Roythornes Solicitors – a top 200 national law firm.

“2019 was certainly a year of ups and downs, however moving into 2020 I think we can expect much more stability. The strong job market should continue well into the new year and it is hoped that mortgage rates will remain relatively low overall. Particularly now a lot of Brexit uncertainty has passed, which should help with market conditions for property generally.

“I think the key issue for 2020 will be one that has been around for a long time – finding land, not just for residential but all property and construction projects. Land shortage is a common issue across the UK, especially in terms of securing sites with successful consents, and unlocking potential sites will continue to be a challenge. However, demand is there, and early signs indicate that 2020 will shape up to be a strong year for the industry.”

Max Kwan, land manager at Inspired Villages Group – an award-winning retirement village operator.

“Although there is still much political and economic uncertainty, the later living sector continues to move forward and develop thanks to an increasing older generation, and overwhelming undersupply (c. 45%).

“The number of people aged over 65 is expected to rise by more than 40% over the next 15 years to 16 million (11.8 million in 2018). This age group also dominates the UK housing market, owning more than £1.5 trillion of housing equity or 43% of housing stock.

“Therefore, the benefits of a retirement development to the wider community are numerous. Including the freeing up of large family houses, reduced dependence on the NHS and social services as well as reduced social isolation for residents.

“In 2020 Inspired Villages and the whole of the senior living industry will continue to promote and educate local authorities, consultants, and the public to the benefits and why it is a real choice for people in their later years.”

Ash Cowdrey, director at Couch Perry Wilkes – a national M&E consultancy with more than 200 staff based across nine regional offices.

“We’re expecting slow but steady growth in 2020, however we think that carbon efficiency is going to be paramount in new building and refurbishment designs moving forward.

“We’ll certainly see this in Nottingham, thanks to the council’s pledge to be carbon neutral within the next eight years, but also echoed throughout all major cities. Replacing and improving existing but poor building stock will play a notable part in achieving this goal and new designs will have to be carefully considered from conception to minimise carbon.

“Personal politics aside, we’ll also be looking for some government focus on issues beyond Brexit. Hopefully policies that have stagnated over the last couple of years can now be reinvigorated to promote further growth in the East Midlands and beyond. Fingers crossed for that!”

Rob Haigh, managing director at RH Chartered Surveyors – a newly formed Nottingham-based chartered surveyor firm.

“2019 was a difficult year for the East Midlands property market, with Brexit acting as the main contributing factor in the significant reduction of key decisions being made by property owners and occupiers alike.

“Whilst many adopted a ‘wait and see’ approach last year, I anticipate that as the country moves forward with Brexit, some will take advantage of key opportunities in the early part of 2020. Landlords and occupiers will turn their focus internally on their existing assets to create greater efficiencies and improve returns. In certain cases, this can prove as effective as expansion. Indeed, a number of my clients are already identifying significant asset management opportunities, which will make it a successful year for them.

“One of the key reasons the property game is so constantly engaging is that varying market conditions create different opportunities. The important factor is to be agile enough to take advantage so bring it on!”

Anne-Marie O’Doherty, regional sales director at Lovell Homes North West – a leading housebuilder offering everything from contemporary apartments to executive family homes.

“2019 was a busy year for the new build homes market and we want more of our buyers to experience the benefits of the increasingly valuable North West region. Particularly whilst the mortgage rates are so favourable and house prices increase higher than any other part of the UK. Furthermore, low interest rates remain steady, and lenders are eager to lend whilst employment rates improve to ensure even more people can secure a home in 2020.”

John Moxon, business development director at Clegg Food Projects – a nationally known designer, constructor and engineer of food manufacturing facilities.

“Moving into 2020, food and drink capital project enquiries and live activity remain at a buoyant level. Manufacturers are continuing to invest to meet increased capacity and efficiency requirements, with storage and distribution projects particularly in demand.

“This year we anticipate continued growth of larger established brands but also smaller independent producers of specialist or niche products. In particular, we foresee increased investment in areas such as vegan, low/no alcohol and healthier ranges.”

I hope you’ll agree that we’re in for a pretty good year, so thanks to everyone who offered up their predictions and roll on 2020.

By Charlotte Dove

Charlotte supports a number of clients across health and beauty, construction and architecture. She has experience creating engaging content on social media, as well as copywriting for SEO and securing extensive coverage for clients.