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Real estate needs to anticipate changes caused by the Covid-19 pandemic
23 April 2020 |

The real estate sector will not be the same after the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. And despite not knowing precisely what will change, Roger M. Cooke, President of the Editorial Council at Iberian Property, considers that «the sector needs to quickly anticipate some of those changes».

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During the first talk of Iberian Property’s new segment Iberian Property Investment Talks Roger M. Cooke, who is also president of RICS Spain, anticipated sanitary measures which will surely be parts of the adaptation period, such as the rules for using public transport, travel restrictions and the limitation on the number of people who can remain in the same place at the same time. All these measures might bring limitations, especially to the hotel, retail and office segments, but «they will also present an opportunity to reinvent ourselves again. These segments were always creative», he believes.

The retail segments associated with tourism and hotels are the ones which «are really struggling with this crisis», and the ones which face more challenges given the future limitations in terms of foreign tourism. Nevertheless, Roger M. Cooke believes there will be «segments specialised in tourism which will be less affected and that tourism will probably recover in the long term».

Like tourism, not all retail segments are being devastated by the crisis. RICS Spain’s president recalls that pharmacies and supermarkets, although with restrictions in terms of face to face service, are having a positive response. The logistic segment too will benefit from the crisis.

Offices are, on the other hand, «an interesting area from my point of view», revealed Roger M. Cooke. Buildings are currently empty since most companies are adopting remote work, but digitisation should not dominate companies. «I don’t think we can live without offices», he admitted. «The future will be a combination of both worlds, the before and the after», he believed.

To assess or not to assess?

Despite the fact that this «is not the first time we are faced with challenging times to assess assets», Roger M. Cooke considers that the quickly changing scenario affects the process. And also, he explained, assessments now need opinions, market data, evidence and transactions which are being impacted by the current situation.

On this topic, Roger M. Cooke explained that the debate today is not only about how to assess, but also on whether assessments should be carried out before June, and if they are carried out before June, how reliable can they be. But he recognised that this paradigm may imply «a political change» and this is thus «a very complicated scenario for all parties involved».

For now, RICS Spain’s president guarantees that «no assessment was requested up until now», considering thus his case to be «an exception in these hard to assess times».