Welcome to the December issue of Voices on Infrastructure. This, our fourth edition, focuses on real estate. One of the world’s most interesting industries, real estate contributes significantly to global GDP; it is also the bedrock of urbanization and has created immense wealth. But it is difficult to understand. Real estate is local in character, extremely cyclical, and often characterized by information asymmetry and lack of transparency.
At the Global Infrastructure Initiative, we seek to improve understanding of this vital sector, and also to identify and share best practices. We regularly meet real-estate professionals from around the world and ask them to pick their top five trends. Here are their most common answers.
Customer centricity will become more important. Rather than accept a sellers’ mind-set, the best real-estate developers will put buyers at the center of everything they do.
The real work will start after the buildings are finished. “After-sales service,” in the form of curating and delivering the best living, working, and shopping experience, will become an essential capability.
Design will become even more about function, including health, walkability, and environmental sustainability.
Technology, both digital and otherwise, will disrupt many aspects of real estate, including marketing and construction.
Many global real-estate investors will start building stronger in-house capabilities and buying operating platforms as they increase their focus on emerging markets.
Voices considers each of these themes and goes further, for example, by asking what it takes to build a new city from scratch. Our contributors take a global view, with articles dedicated to California, China, India, and the United Kingdom. I hope you find these ideas worth thinking about—and I look forward to working with you to help reimagine the future of real estate.
Senior partner and global real estate leader, McKinsey & Company