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Property experts offer hope for the high street

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Two-thirds (66%) of property professionals in the UK believe former retail premises could be the biggest untapped resource for new residential development, according to a survey by MRI Software, a global leader in real estate software solutions. Nearly three-quarters (72%) of those surveyed see residential redevelopment of sites previously used by retailers giving the British High Street a new lease of life, the research report, Charting UK Property Trends, shows.

The research also reveals that three-quarters (76%) of the industry experts MRI canvassed think Brexit will not seriously hamper the ability of the UK property sector to get the funding it needs to develop properties – including 94% of the property investors, owners and developers. Over three-quarters (77%) of respondents also see demand for residential rentals in the UK accelerating, driven by the continued high cost of buying a home.

Charting UK Property Trends provides a comprehensive inside view of the challenges property players face today and where the opportunities lie,” says Dermot Briody, Executive Managing Director, Europe at MRI Software.  “The research shows we will see a far greater number of people living in town centres, which will give a boost to retailers on the High Street while feeding other businesses such as gyms and entertainment venues.”

The survey took the responses of 144 senior property experts from a range of organisations, including investors/owners/developers, consultants, contractors, property managers, sales and lettings agents, service providers, and business occupiers.

“The vast majority of industry players we surveyed were bullish on the outlook for the sector,” Briody notes. “Even where Brexit is concerned, the positive outweighed the negative, as two-thirds maintain that even a Hard Brexit won’t hurt their ability to get funding for property development.”

Other findings in the survey of property professionals include:

  • Eight in ten (82%) say ‘Generation Rent’ – young adults unable to purchase a home due to high housing prices – is here to stay, with little likelihood buying conditions will improve
  • The same proportion (82%) say Generation Rent is renting for longer, driving demand for higher quality properties
  • Nine in ten (90%) see rentals becoming more important to the UK residential market over next 12-18 months
  • Four out of five (81%) say co-working / shared office spaces such as WeWork are likely to be users of former retail premises in UK town and city centers
  • Three quarters (75%) say their organisation struggles to turn the data it holds into actionable insight but needs to be able to do so
  • Over half (54%) say connecting up or linking applications, processes and data within their company is difficult and want an easier way to do it



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