How’s our sector doing?

by Jan van den Hogen

Head of Tenant Relationship Management Logistics Deka Immobilien GmbH

This week, the first HPP Online Meeting took place. Representatives from international investment companies, a major bank, building companies, developers and consultants participated in this online conversation about the impact of the current social developments on the real estate sector.

Although many trade journals make us believe it is all doom and gloom and ofcourse this is a hard period for all of the participating companies, we also heard a few positive signals.

For example, it was noted that the major banks are taking their social responsibility. Unlike in the financial crisis, where they were seen as the problem, they are now vigorously working to offer meaningful arrangement to their affected clients.

The same applies on the investors‘ side. They are right between their shareholders and tenants, however, slowly they begin to succeed in finding a balance in this force field. Despite the damages that will unavoidable occur on both sides, the investors are acting problem solving which is not always recognized by the tenants who are crying for attention.

Furthermore the building companies. They can continue with their work, but it isn’t going smoothly at all. The problems vary from manpower to building materials. Luckily they have some reserves, so they won’t suffer from direct payment problems. However, too many projects are postponed which will lead to shortages in the future…

Last but not least the government. It is painfully clear from this videoconference, that the local authorities in particular, who should now be working hard to keep the economic real estate engine running, have neither the means nor the skills to make any positive contribution to the real estate sector during this coronacrisis. Apparently, the sector, on which the majority of the Dutch population depends directly (as owners), or indirectly (via pension investments), is certainly not in the government’s focus. The videoconference once again points out that it is not to be hoped that this dossier will lead to the same economic misery in the sector as other dossiers in which the government has failed, such as the now infamous nitrogen dossier.

The conclusion is that the sector will still be able to make its economic contribution as was the case before the crisis, provided we do not keep the economy locked up for months.

We don’t want to deprive you of the very best positive conclusion from the video conference: the conclusion that everyone has finally learned that working from home with sufficient digital tools is quite possible.