COVID-19 Review Blog

COVID-19 Review Blog

01.06.2020 | Jonathan Burroughs

As we start to see easing of UK lockdown, I review the outputs of a recent business investor sentiment survey in the healthcare R&D sector, give some insight into our experience on demand for real estate from R&D occupiers, and share thoughts about what the landscape will look like going forward for real estate investors and occupiers alike.

Healthcare R&D
The Optimum European Healthcare Investor Survey of May 2020 revealed some interesting points:

  • Healthcare is being seen as a defensive bet, potentially more immune to economic downturn than other sectors
  • European Venture Capital is still actively seeking new opportunities, with a substantial amount of money available for investment – 2/3 of those surveyed have deployed less than 30% of funds available.
  • Over the next 12 months new clinical trials, delays in clinical trials, and logistics, will dominate the headlines, as businesses strive to recommence their development and delivery processes in the new ways of working.

Occupier market within the R&D sector
We are still progressing  a number of occupational requirements – both lettings and agreements to lease for new buildings yet to be commissioned.  Cell and gene therapy is still on the up, including manufacturing relating thereto.

Where is real estate investment heading?
We think real estate investors will want to look for greater levels of understanding, from independent experts of quality, as they navigate the future. Opportunities are popping up all over, from hospital sites to city centre retail. Anticipating how quickly we will return to coming together for general work could be a challenge for the hot-desking environments and for landlord/tenant discussions over rental levels to be paid where landlords and tenants are working through the current problems together.

We think that universities are going to need to be particularly agile – their management is going to be tested as income streams come under pressure and there will be clear winners and losers soon evident.

For the future
Strong communication, excellence in change management and teamwork with others will be critical for success, whichever line of work you’re in.

Some are questioning whether physical coming together in clusters will be as relevant into the future.  We believe that new, effective ways of communicating will be good for business and good for the planet, whilst clusters will remain a powerful force that won’t take too long to return to delivering what people want from their lives. As for those new ways of communicating that are evolving, we are finding that the internet can still facilitate the most extraordinary engagement around topics of interest.  Whilst we may have lost some serendipitous meeting of others through social contact, some specific reaching out in target areas can still bring a smile to your face as new interfaces and ideas pop up.