The spread of the “sharing economy” is creating opportunities for real estate investment, said Robert O’Brien, global and U.S. real estate industry sector leader for Deloitte, based in the consulting firm’s Chicago office.
Examples of the impact of the growing collaborative economy on real estate include pop-up stores, which leverage social media to drive customers to the shops; shared office space through companies like WeWork that provide flexible and collaborative space for tenants; and shared distribution centers to facilitate same-day or next-day delivery, Mr. O’Brien said in an e-mail.
“I think collaborative workspace designs continue to evolve, as designers better understand how companies and their employees actually use the space, and as technology advancements in areas such as videoconferencing change the way people meet,” he said. “In our experience, we have found that there has been more demand for smaller collaborative rooms and arrangements (say two to four people) in offices than the larger, more typical eight- to 16-people conference rooms.”
Lori Campana, partner in the Boston office of Monument Group Inc., an alternative investment placement agent, expects that the same cities favored this year — the gateway cities of New York and San Francisco, and second-tier cities with universities — will continue to be in favor in 2016. However, investors will continue to seek out real estate investment in areas where there is growth in science, technology, entertainment and media businesses, she added.
While traditional big-city office towers are still a good investment, investors and their managers are looking to real estate investments that appeal to the next generation. Therefore, traditional properties that can be renovated to accommodate more creative space designs and properties that are in locations allowing people to walk rather than drive or take public transportation will dominate.
“Creative office space remains attractive due to strong demand across U.S. markets,” Ms. Campana said. “Urban residential properties that offer ‘walkability’ to office locations, services and less reliance on public transportation will continue to have strong demand and be attractive to investors. Those themes are still pervasive.”