The North West in 2013
A cross-section of contributors drawn from Place's readership offer their views on changes that lie ahead in the next 12 months
Would you advise any young person to pursue a career in the built environment? On top of recession, property has suffered from a lack of professional recognition in the past few years, and is suffering a brain drain that calls for an industry-wide rethink.
The key word for development and regeneration in 2013 will be collaboration. The new norm of restricted debt finance across all regional property markets and particularly for development projects, has forced the regeneration community to innovate and think creatively about how to structure deals in a new way.
We continue to live in some of the most turbulent economic times that the market has experienced, and the continuing austerity measures announced by George Osborne, will have as much of an impact on Liverpool and the regions as perhaps as in any other areas of the country.
What's interesting about designing today's offices and work spaces is that this part of the property market is finally reacting to the new types of business that have emerged out of the crash.
After Britain loses its Triple AAA credit rating George Osborne will be replaced at the Treasury by William Hague. Greece will end in messy default. To address the unfolding crisis, the Government will announce a review of red tape.
There will be unprecedented changes in the housing sector in 2013 as we head into unchartered policy waters.
The foundations are being laid for Manchester's next development boom in a series of transport projects, but is the property world fully aware?
The private rented sector has started to pick up some of the slack of the undersupply crisis harming the housing market, but many landlords in high demand areas are asking for rent tenants cannot afford to pay and in low demand areas small scale investors find themselves with hard-to-let properties. A new type of approach is needed in 2013.
North West property markets face many challenges at present: an
acute lack of finance; patchy occupier demand; historically low
rates of house building and investor sentiment which instinctively
favours London and the South East even more in tough economic
So the notion of introducing a further layer of cost on developers might seem at best bad timing and at worst suicidal.
The past decade saw significant change for our town centres and high streets. As we approach 2013, we are on the cusp of a further period of evolution whereby shops must be showrooms and high streets should be leisure destinations.
Questions were raised in the wake of the global financial crisis
as to whether the seemingly insatiable appetite for city centre
living could ever reaching the dizzying heights of 2007 ever again.
While viewed nationally it is true to say that demand for new homes
lies in leafy commuter belts and in three to five bed houses, in
2012 the region's two big cities proved to be two islands of
renewed growth in urban apartment living.
In 2013, can we learn to love the architecture of the 20th Century, as we have learned previously to love the architecture of the 19th Century?
It has been refreshing to see the resurgence of investment in automotive manufacturing plants relative to the doldrums that they were in only two or three years ago.
Evolution requires external pressure. If conditions in the primeval swamp had remained constant, life would never have crawled out and evolved to give us the diverse world we inhabit.
What was once considered prime location may now be secondary and sectors that once produced good returns are under-performing. It's time to look for alternative investment classes in property.
If 2012 was the year in which we saw the roots of change in the social housing and regeneration sectors, then 2013 is when we'll begin to see tangible effects on the ground through the Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation initiatives.
If the Chancellor's Autumn Statement, delivered in freezing cold December, failed to warm the cockles of business leaders, there are some reasons to be cheerful in the property sector.
The changing face of the high street has meant that many town centres are in need of heavy regeneration to make them fit for purpose. While online shopping has steadily chipped away at footfall for the last ten years, consumers now have so much choice around how and where they purchase goods that it is very difficult for traditional retailers to compete in an economic climate where price is often the deciding factor. This has severely impacted high streets as some stores have been forced to close their doors.
Atlantic Gateway projects have regional, national and international significance; they will involve £14bn of private sector investment and deliver 250,000 jobs. Next year will see significant progress for this series of projects.
Against the backdrop of the difficult economic climate, it is no wonder that much of the UK property market is finding life tough at the moment. But Liverpool remains in an upbeat mood, and the new Mayor is helping to set the right tone.
We suspect that nothing shall dramatically alter in 2013 that has not already started its journey in 2012. Austerity measures are likely to continue with a reliance on the private sector to develop growth. In these stringent times, all areas of the property sector shall continue to be under huge pressure to spend money wisely.
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