Who’d have thought?​

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Who’d have thought at the beginning of 2016 that the world would be so changed by the beginningof 2017?

Who’d have thought the UK would choose to exit the European Union?

Who’d havethought that the US would vote for such a change in political leadership?

Who’d have thought therewould have been so many changes in worldwide stability by the end of 2016?

From a real estate point of view there are big questions over how these changes will affect marketsacross the globe. But alongside high profile events there are other, almost unnoticed yet just assignificant changes afoot. One is the generational change. The Baby Boomers are finally making wayfor the Millenials. This will only grow in speed and intensity in both the US and the UK over thenext two decades. As we found with Brexit and the presidential election Millenials do not think oract like Baby Boomers. Baby Boomers could be relied upon incrementally to develop their parents’ideas. The new generation think differently. They seem prepared, en masse, to turn away fromestablished norms in a way past generations would never have done nor, through an absence ofsocial media, would have been able to do. When they buy property for the first time Millenials areoften older than their parents were at the same stage. Initially they are far happier to rent thantheir parents were.

They are not so keen to take on older, larger properties and are morereluctant than the last generation to repair, renovate and re-model. They often prefer instead morecompact homes built in thermally efficient and ecologically agreeable materials. Their style choicesare radically different. They want to control the heat, security, lighting and garden irrigation from asmart phone on a beach in Thailand. Sometimes they prefer a holiday in Thailand to buying aproperty in the first place – a point of view lost on their parents.As for the post-war Baby Boomers the real estate market is increasingly about living in retirement.Urban locations are often preferred as they’re near convenient amenities such as shops,entertainment, transport and health services. Baby Boomers increasingly like lock-and-leave homesso they can travel, vacation, snow bird or visit family for extended periods.In 2016, for Baby Boomers or Millenials alike, the list of risky places in the world to buy or invest inreal estate became longer due to political unrest and economic instability.

Transportation,globalisation and the internet have certainly made the world a smaller place but the global changesover the course of 2016 made real estate choices smaller as well. Fortunately that short list offavoured locations includes the USA and the UK where, despite Brexit and the changing of the USpresidential guard, buyers still show a hearty appetite for investment and purchase.2016 changed many a plan, ambition and dream. Anyone associated with real estate will have toaccept that the changes we have seen over the past twelve months are not short-term alterationsin attitude. They are long-term changes in reality that will have to be fully understood in order tobenefit from the undoubted real estate opportunities there will be in 2017.

Who’d have thought?