While rapid urbanisation has created greater wealth and economic output, it also has exerted severe pressure on the environment and public health. According to the United Nations, currently 75% of the world’s carbon emissions and 50% of waste come from cities, with at least 40% of the former from properties. As more than half of the world’s human population already lives in urban areas, demand for sustainable housing and work spaces in cities has reached a crucial point. This is not only because of greenhouse gases and how city buildings and their occupiers deal with hotter weather and more frequent natural disasters, but also due to growing social inequality and a massive ageing population.
While Brexit has continued to hit the UK property market, several underlying trends are starting to paint a different picture, particularly in the central London office market where its expanding skyline is proving more resilient than expected. Research conducted by the Financial Times earlier this year, for instance, showed that London’s top 15 banks have collectively cut fewer than 3,500 jobs in the UK capital since the Referendum. The FT’s report said this is only 5% of the 15 banks’ City headcounts and that fewer than 1,500 of those moves were linked to Brexit.
As 2018 winds down, we are faced with the fact that Brexit and the cloudy uncertainties it poses on UK businesses and investors continues to drag on. Although it is difficult to predict what will happen given the range of outcomes and indeed the range of forecasts on the impacts of those outcomes, we at Canada Life Investments in London feel it is important to communicate a brief analysis of it as we move into 2019.