The real estate industry sees a bright future
Spending the day at the Business Arena in Malmö with many industry colleagues is a favorite. The dedication and joy in the exhibition and the lectures did not give the impression that Covid-19 (Corona) put a damper on us, although the risk of shaking hands was mentioned as often as the traditional weather talk.
Now that we have melted all the impressions, we would like to share our summary of the day in 8 points:
"Even if you do not really know how or what the end result will be, you have to dare to do ANYTHING". So said Johan Westman as an opening speaker and it is a man with great commitment and many irons in the fire. He also adds humor, which at least we see as uplifting! Among other things, Johan talked about GOD's enormous influence over world. And GOD is nothing more than Globalization Urbanization Digitalization. He said that AI is here to stay and first to be replaced are professions where no dialogue or collaboration is required, eg. a model. The more complex dialogues and interactions a profession requires, the more difficult it is to replace AI. According to Johan, therefore, a priest is the profession that will remain the longest.
No one has avoided the fact that our trading locations are undergoing a major change as digitalisation has a breakthrough in trade on a broad front. The pendulum swings back and forth. Large shopping centers are growing outside the city centers that are being depleted. Physical commerce is being replaced by e-commerce, which in turn creates entirely new logistical challenges to get all the retail goods into private housing in the center again. E-retailers are starting to show interest in opening physical stores and showrooms as a complement to their digital sales channels. International examples show that the previously closed shopping centers tend to open up to become more like a traditional city center, both in appearance and supply - the overall experience becomes a competitive means. Is it even possible that our city centers may increase in attractiveness again in the future? A prerequisite is, of course, that there is accessibility to the city center - and probably not by car, but with more sustainable and scalable modes of transport.
The desire to collaborate, exchange experiences and assist in projects, against injustice, for sustainable future societies is expressed at several presentations. In construction projects, the need arises mainly due to high complexity in many different areas. From a business perspective, collaboration between trade, property owners and the municipality can be the solution to vibrant and sustainable urban environments for all people. To meet this need, both trained project managers and an understanding and planning in different situations are required for project management & coordination to take time and should be a natural element.
One question that was addressed was "Who is responsible for keeping the property up to date?" and the simple answer, according to the panel, was the CEO of the real estate company. But of course, in order to deliver the desired and expected quality and function, a competent client, a well-functioning project and a good handover to the management organization are obviously required. In short, competent project management and coordination.
Theoretical skills and professional experience must balance. AI is on the rise but without humans we cannot coordinate. Employees in the form of competent people with education, commitment and pride in their various occupations. And this is achieved partly by high quality at Swedish schools, colleges and universities, and partly by a commitment and interest from the business community. By welcoming young, inexperienced employees or offering trainee programs, companies are able to bring in new fresh ideas that will do their part to drive development forward. Maybe Sweden, like many other countries, should reintroduce apprenticeships as a training path for professions that require training on a craft to a greater extent than theoretical knowledge?
Sustainable living with all its perspectives and conditions was a recurring theme in the lectures. The construction and the entire life cycle of the property including the accommodation itself has a clear climate impact. There are many good examples and wise solutions that promise good for the future. At the same time, changes are needed in our behaviors and probably in our values, not only as individuals but also in society at large, for these to have an effect. Examples were given of well thought out solutions where the property was built without parking spaces and instead with a number of alternative mobility solutions. The result, however, was that some of the residents resolved their car parking in other ways. An individual initiative is a very good start, but a holistic and systemic thinking is needed to get the full effect. As mentioned, a radical change is needed - or perhaps a transformation. How do we achieve it? Therein lies the challenge that begins with collaboration, commitment combined with a clear goal image, a clear leadership, supported by some political instruments.
Success is often born of a competent leadership. During a panel discussion, it was agreed that responsiveness, advocating diversity, providing feedback in everyday life, curiosity and courage are the most important characteristics for leading a successful real estate company. And most likely the same goes for all types of companies and organizations. The diversity issue also gave us some clues as to how important the role model is. That is, more women in senior positions create interest for even more women to apply for.
Urbanization is and remains a clear trend. The seal as a theme in urban development is clear. The goal is more housing and more businesses on a smaller area. It also creates new conditions for different population groups in terms of housing costs and quality of housing. Young people often move from the less populated parts of the country to the metropolitan regions to obtain education and jobs. Similarly, there is a clear trend that families with children move out of the center to crane municipalities to afford a villa or townhouse accommodation and another living environment, for example with a greater proximity to nature. There are also patterns in which the older generation, who have left work, are looking for accommodation in areas that can be termed holiday homes. The metropolitan regions with their efforts in densification are therefore strongly dependent on the crane municipalities and that there are good communications with them. Conversely, the attractiveness of the crane municipalities as residential environments is strongly dependent on the proximity to the big city and good opportunities to get to their workplace. Commuting is therefore a vital and natural part of the new urban society.
Once at home, with many new impressions and great energy, we continue to struggle to realize tomorrow's reality!