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Real Estate Legal Outlook

Key topics for you to prepare for in 2024

The common theme for the real estate investment market over 2023 has arguably been “uncertainty”. The last 12 months have seen a shifting general macro-economic backdrop, not least with material increases in interest rates (raising the cost of third-party finance) and significant geo-political events.

However, the real estate sector has also had to grapple with a number of industry specific drivers. The inflationary environment – and to a degree, supply chain issues – have impacted construction and development costs, and investors, managers and developers have had to navigate notable planning and regulatory developments (in particular in relation to ESG, planning and building safety). The acceleration of the pre-pandemic trend for more flexible working arrangements has continued to impact commercial real estate usage, core demand and leasing trends. This maelstrom has dampened transactional activity (although some sectors, such as logistics and data centres have fared comparatively well) as, in a market searching for equilibrium, sellers and purchasers have struggled to consistently find commercial alignment on pricing.

As we move into 2024, there are some positive signs on the horizon. As interest rates appear to be stabilising and inflation trends downwards, the market paralysis should alleviate and investment decisions can hopefully be taken with increased confidence, with market actors able to assess risk, raise finance and determine pricing with greater certainty. 

Within our Real Estate Outlook 2024, the Linklaters Real Estate team has been considering certain aspects of the legal terrain that may shape the year ahead. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions about the issues raised and/or any aspect of the market in general.

Best wishes for a successful 2024.

- Matthew Plaskow, Partner, Real Estate

Key themes

Explore the topics in the publication


2024 market outlook

Tickets to the real estate circus haven’t been selling out of late; however, 2024 brings a new show and it’s shaping up to be a good one. Investing in real estate has often felt like walking the high wire, and never more so than recently. Prices have felt unstable and costs of building materials (due to supply chain issues and inflation) and borrowing costs (courtesy of rising interest rates) have been spiralling. But – keep your seat in the Big Top – there is positive news.

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Challenges and opportunities for developers

The real estate sector is currently undergoing a period of transformation as the Government and industry grapples with an embattled global economy against the backdrop of the UK’s drive to decarbonise all sectors of the UK economy to achieve net zero commitments by 2050. Some key themes, opportunities and challenges that developers will need to grapple with throughout 2024 are explored here.

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Energy transition – the path to net zero

The UK’s commitment to net zero has shown no signs of abating despite the recent change in approach by the Prime Minister on oil and gas licences, with hundreds of new licences to be granted in the UK as part of the Government’s quest to make Britain more energy independent. Industry and business are keenly tuned in to some of the opportunities presented by this path towards green energy.

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Evolution or revolution: what’s next for the leasing market?

Change is on the horizon for the leasehold market (in more ways than one) and we’re continuing to witness a stark shift away from the traditional institutional lease on the commercial side. 2023 has seen a great deal of disruption in demand as a result of an uncertain economy. For the commercial leasing market, this has resulted in a continuing trend towards flexibility – meaning shorter lease terms, greater use of break options and “rightsizing” options. 

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What’s ahead in the building safety labyrinth?

The Building Safety Act 2022 continues to reshape the regulatory framework of the homebuilding industry and in 2023 has introduced several changes that have not only redefined this sector, but extend well beyond, affecting a broad range of property types (providing, of course, that certain key tests are met) – including mixed-use developments, purpose-built student accommodation and build-to-rent projects. 

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