Predicting the future direction of UK cities has been an ongoing theme at many conferences this year, and at the annual Aviva Property Finance Conference last month we listened to a series of presentations on, by no coincidence, what future cities might look like and how different property classes may evolve.

This got me thinking. In addition to the concerns around recessions, inflation, business rates and shorter leases (and that’s without referencing the dreaded “B” word), one thing is standing out more than anything else. How do we ensure the buildings of today aren’t measured on short term commercial priorities but instead longer term economic value? 

Rather than discussing the changes, what are we doing to encourage it? Change will always occur, and we know the cities of the future will be a living ecosystem full of connectivity, experience, public realm, education, activities, culture and arts, serving a social and economic purpose in equal measure. Those doing it well will have access to a pool of talent and financial investment, and valuers have their place to play in interpreting how a building, or a city, is measured.

The role of a valuer is going to change dramatically, and we need to look beyond traditional metrics to quantify the premium a building delivers where it offers:

  • Well-being and productivity benefits; 
  • Positive environmental attributes; 
  • Additional societal benefits; 
  • Smart leases, digitalised infrastructure and high-speed networks for access and deliveries; 
  • Differentiation for customers through experience; and 
  • A necessity for human existence.

Valuers need to be thinking about these issues now so that their clients can be making the right investment or lending decisions for the future. I for one will be taking this to heart!