The reason it was a good answer was because the whole “stay alive” mentality seems to go against the very ethos of the real estate business. If anyone in professional life qualifies as a visionary, it’s the person who looks at an empty plot of land and fills it in with something that wasn’t there before. Indeed, staying alive is not enough. There must be something else. There must be a view of the future; an opinion about where the world is going; a plan on how to get there.
This was the reason that we started this year’s Owners Magazine survey by asking owners what they were envisioning in three years, in five years and in 10 years. Yes, some of the answers were hedged and a bit murky, but many of the owners indicated which direction they are pointing as this bewildering real estate market fully unfolds.
The year 2023 might be seen as a disappointment as far as real estate is concerned. Work from home persists. Interest rates remain high. Tax incentives to encourage affordable housing have been drying up with few replacements. There is a temptation to imagine the worst, a “Mad Max” or “Planet of the Apes” (the latter of which inspired our print cover) hellscape that awaits us all.
But that’s just panic. We’re not 100 percent sure what the future will look like — but it won’t be that. (At least, not in the next 10 years.)
We invite our readers to look at what 36 owners and developers had to say about the landscape now, and how it will look down the line. And while we’re at it, we wrote a few pieces about some of the issues currently affecting ownership. —Max Gross, Commercial Observer editor in chief