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Race for quality office assets in major cities spurred by ESG and limited supply – 2022 Global Investor Outlook reveals

2022 Global Investor Outlook Hero

Investing with intent becoming as clear a priority as financial performance

Leading diversified professional services and investment management company Colliers reveals 67% of EMEA investors (and 60% of global investors) chose quality office assets in major markets as their top strategy picks. European cities like London, Paris, Berlin and Munich have retained their allure and will be in high demand next year.

The appeal of offices not only stems from the realisation that demand for this asset is here to stay, particularly in cities supported by strong transport infrastructure and high amenity values, but also the ease of large-scale capital deployment that office assets represent. The rising cost of construction, viewed by 4 in 5 (81%) investors as a pain point, limiting new builds, renovations, and retrofit projects amplify the race to core, and investors expect the stark imbalance between demand and supply will see core office values increase by up to, or more than 10% over the next 12 months.

“Based on our 2022 Global Investor Outlook, pent-up demand and delayed transactions will translate into momentum next year. However, investors face an increasingly complex and competitive marketplace, coloured by new regulations and COVID-19 uncertainties. With the amount of dry powder readily available, offices in Tier 1 cities are seen as safe haven assets that offer an attractive route to deploy capital,” said Tony Horrell, Head of Global Capital Markets at Colliers.

Investing with intent

This year’s report shows ESG (environmental, social, governance) considerations are prominent, with nearly 3 in 4 investors integrating environmental factors into their strategies. This desire to invest with intent is both a means of future-proofing their assets and responding to stakeholder and societal pressures requiring them to respond to the climate crisis.

Sustainability is creating a greater chasm between newer, high-quality assets in prime space and older, second-hand stock in city submarkets. To protect their portfolios, investors are concentrating on Grade-A buildings that prioritize sustainability and wellness credentials, while disposing of aging, non-compliant assets that risk potential obsolescence if they are not regarded as retrofit opportunities to capitalize. This recalibration of assets under management will drive market turnover.

“The built environment plays a critical role in the health of our planet, as reinforced at COP26,” said Luke Dawson, Managing Director, EMEA Cross Border Capital Markets. “Investors are adopting a more robust approach to sustainability-related risks in response to the pandemic, climate-related disruptions, and growing recognition of social inequality. As tenants increasingly demand space with strong ESG credentials and the number of ESG regulatory requirements continue to soar, we expect investors to prioritize these factors now to avoid holding stranded assets in the future.”

Partnership key to realizing diversified portfolios

The pandemic introduced new risks and heightened others for certain real estate assets. Investors are looking for more ways to ensure their portfolios are resilient and diversified, exploring specialized assets such as data centres, life science facilities, affordable and student housing that benefit from their strong ties to demographic and societal trends.

“Joint ventures, local partnerships and M&A strategies are great for savvy investors who want to get ahead. Alternative assets present compelling investment cases, but their unique characteristics make teaming up with the right partner essential. There’s a clear need for expertise to fill knowledge gaps and safely guide capital, particularly those in nascent sectors,” said Damian Harrington, EMEA Head of Research and Head of Global Capital Markets research.

Other EMEA key findings from the Colliers 2022 Global Investor Outlook include:

  • Top three assets of choice include industrial & logistics, which is still unsurprisingly the top asset of choice, with 69% of respondents most likely to invest in this asset in 2022, followed by 57% in offices and 40% in multi-family.
  • Europe’s hotel sector is once again on the investor radar thanks to a nascent revival of travel and tourism. But labour shortages have made the return of some hotels difficult. Repurposing hotels remains a trend that is attracting value-add players.
  • Investors expect price increases in luxury retail, convenience and food-anchored assets. Traditional shopping centres will likely undergo a period of transition, with the repositioning of department stores a potential prelude to near and mid-term trends.
  • Alternative segments attracting the most attention in Europe are life sciences, student housing, affordable housing and data centres. Life science market in Europe lags the U.S. and the data centre market is less mature compared to Asia, which can make it difficult to secure income-producing assets at scale.
  • The office locations of choice are London (45%); Paris (30%); Berlin (30%); Munich (30%). Investors are looking at offices as a potential area where they can see returns versus the market.
  • The survey shows multifamily/BTR assets gaining appeal, particularly among investors in the Nordics and Southern Europe. Traditional homeowners’ markets such as Poland are attracting significant interest as social and economic trends point to more people renting.


About the Colliers 2022 Global Investor Outlook

The second edition of our annual outlook for global property investors is based on a focused survey undertaken by 300+ investors across the globe and in-depth interviews with our regional Capital Markets leaders. The findings and opinions featured in the report are shaped by their responses.

View our 2022 Global and Regional Investor Outlook reports here


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Anna Silkstone

Head of Content

London - West End

Anna is an experienced B2B marketer, communications and business development adviser. She specialises in content creation and the resultant campaign output. In her role as Head of Content, EMEA she develops compelling communications for multi-channel direct and social marketing, media and internal communications. This is done in partnership with the business line leaders, research, digital and creative leads.

Anna has developed all of her career experience in the real estate industry. This has included leading on market response campaigns, thought leadership content development, research report identification, production and launch, client engagement and market profiling campaigns, proposal responses and bid presentation management, value propositions for marketing material, trade show presence, stakeholder management, internal and external communications, and building a remote-working marketing team. 

Prior to Colliers Anna worked at the global law firm, Dentons LLP as a Senior Business Development Manager for the Real Estate team and latterly as Head of Campaigns for the UKIME region, focusing on Environmental, Social and Governance. Anna also worked at CBRE for over two years and supported the Occupier Services section of the EMEA business. Before CBRE, Anna was at Lambert Smith Hampton for nearly nine years in a regional marketing role and later as a UK campaign manager. 

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Luke Dawson

Managing Director Cross Border Capital Markets

London - West End

I started with Colliers in 2003 working as Director of Corporate Development with a focus on mergers and acquistions across the globe.  After leading the acquisitions of the Colliers businesses in Russia, Ukraine, and South East Europe, I relocated to the Czech Republic in 2007 to take on the role of Head of Operations for Eastern Europe.  I was responsible for the day-to-day oversight, integration and coordination of the 13 countries.  In 2012 I accepted the position of Regional Managing Director for South East Europe.  In this position I was responsible for business development, key accounts, investment sales and overall business accountability.

In 2014 I left Colliers to run one of the largest private family offices in the middle east.  This involved leading all asset management, acquisitions and dispositions across the globe and the overall leadership of the organization. 

In early 2017 I returned to Colliers in my current role.  My focus is on driving our investment sales business across Central Europe.  This means strategically managing regional investment relationships, connecting opportunities and guiding the overall strategy of the service line.  I also have leadership responsibility for the Central Europe businesses as a whole and work closely with the local leaders to grow our businesses.

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Damian Harrington

Head of Research

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Damian Harrington is a Director and Head of Research for both Global Capital Markets and EMEA at Colliers. He has over 20 years of experience in the real estate industry living and working from various locations across EMEA including London, Dubai, Prague, Helsinki and Amsterdam. Damian is responsible for producing research for internal and external clients. His expertise helps to provide clients with global capital market trends and analysis, and connects them with strategic and actionable insights, such as the changing nature of global capital and the impact on global capital flows. Damian has produced numerous research papers and generated analysis of markets across all asset types - from residential to offices, retail to logistics and hotels to niche sectors such as life sciences, air cargo and data centres. Damian is a member of the EMEA location strategy team and a key member of Colliers ESG focus group.  He speaks regularly at internal global conferences, external industry events hosted by GRI, ULI and other key industry bodies, plus key annual events such as MIPIM and EXPO REAL.

Damian holds a Masters degree in European Property Development and Planning from University College London, a BPI Bachelor of Planning from the University of Amsterdam and a BA (Hons) in Town and Country Planning from Manchester University. He is also a qualified surveyor, holding an MRICS with the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.

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