Forcadell's CEO, Ivan Vaqué, reviews in this interview how 2021 has been overall and his forecast for 2022 for the Company and the real estate sector.
Being the second year that we have lived in a pandemic context, the company has continued to adapt to any change forced by the epidemiological situation at all times. Generally speaking, this year has been better than the previous one. We have reduced uncertainty, learned to manage the situation keeping our commitment to offer the best service to our clients while taking care of our professionals' health. And I think we have succeeded.
"For us, people value is still our main driver"
We started the year with the hope that we would leave the pandemic behind and we could recover challenges and projects that had been forcibly postponed. In the first quarter, the sector saw a reactivation due to the improvement of the health situation with the massive vaccination of the population. At FORCADELL we keep a balanced situation combining teleworking with preventive measures, allowing our professionals to be been able to perform their functions without problems. As the year progressed, the Company gradually started a return to the offices, first working with a mixed model that combined face-to-face with teleworking, and shortly afterwards we went back to working on-site. Whenever we have considered it necessary, the company has eased the return to teleworking. For us, people value is still the most important driver. Throughout the year we have continued to work hard and fight to regain normalcy, and the result has been very positive.
2021 was expected to be the beginning of the recovery and, to a greater or lesser extent, we can agree it has been so. Activity has returned and the real estate sector has regained strength and stability. Within the sector, nevertheless, there are areas that have recovered better than others. Logistics, for example, has benefited a great deal from the growth of e-commerce. Residential is also gaining momentum at a positive pace due to the current real estate boom that we already predicted in our Annual Real Estate Report published together with the University of Barcelona. Regarding the Office sector, they join the positive trend of the sector that together most with businesses and companies, with or without teleworking, have maintained a good level of demand. Barcelona undoubtedly continues to be an attractive hub for companies and investors.
"Regardless of the uncertainty of every new wave, the Company has persevered, putting all its efforts to move forward"
Yes, undoubtedly the retail sector has been the one that has suffered the most, together with the beverage and foods segment. Although now, reaching the year- end, some signs forecast a slow but firm recovery. Anyways, generally speaking, it has been a good year for FORCADELL considering we were coming out of the coronavirus crisis. Regardless of the uncertainty of every new wave, the Company has persevered, putting all its efforts to move forward.
Our hope is that next year will bring the full recovery of the sector, and a step forward toward the “new normal” life. The Company is focused in its new projects, with renewed drive. During 2022 we plan to consolidate the territorial expansion plan that we started in 2019. This plan is for our branch offices to function and establish themselves as benchmarks in their respective areas. We will continue trust the technological transformation of the sector, seeking efficiency, and maintaining our commitment to offer the best possible service.
"Technology and innovation are changing everything, and real estate is not excluded from these changes, as seen in Proptech, for example"
A new prospect where technology and innovation are changing everything and that includes real estate. Before the pandemic, there were already new changes in the sector: trends that were emerging like coworking and coliving, global turistic renting and new real estate services backed in new technologies like big data, algorithms and blockchain. During the past century our buildings were the highest skyscrapers and in this century we will interconnect all these buildings which will also be sustainable and generate more energy that they consume.
The real estate sector, together with the construction sector, has never stopped innovating. The difference is that now this innovation is increasingly faster and is strongly interrelated with innovation in other sectors such as the financial sector, telecommunications, transport and logistics, to name a few. All sectors are innovating at the same time and transforming society. These social changes affect the way we work (in all sectors: offices, retail, industry or agriculture) and where we live (residential).Therefore, it is only logical to think that the real estate sector will change at the same speed.
And it is not just about building new and better properties, all real estate services have to change, gaining more efficiency and offering new solutions to the new needs of society, especially in property administration and management. This one of the challenges that motivates us to improve our services.
The Owner properties management segment is a perfect example of how processes can be enhanced to be more efficient through digitalization. The 21st century challenge is for real estate owner properties’ management to them into global wealth-generating assets.To reach this goal, buildings have to improve their energy efficiency, not only to reduce the carbon footprint, but also to generate and accumulate this energy by themselves. Owner properties managers work in order to help for this goal to be achieved. In addition, we cannot stop working on other important aspects we may temporarily forgotten due to the pandemic, which is working to move towards a more sustainable and environmentally friendly planet. In this sense, the real estate sector and FORCADELL are already working to change some processes aimed at this purpose.
I renew my last years’ wishes. May everyone stay in good health and have the strength and courage to undertake new challenges.