06 January 2022
By Nigel Howell
FirstPort’s Chief Executive, Nigel Howell, looks at top property trends that are set to make big waves in 2022.
People-first technology will be vital to customer experience.
Technology underpins the way society operates and how we can support our customers. Ours is an industry that has historically been slower off the mark when it comes to digital engagement, but now is the time to make sure our industry is at the forefront of tech and digital solutions.
FirstPort has spent the last year designing and building cutting-edge technology to support our new ways of working to transform customer experience, making it slicker, quicker and more responsive. But we must not forget the value of good people on the ground and an important aim of creating people-first technology is to give time back to our people in customer-facing roles to provide the very best human experiences too.
The quality of property management will be in the spotlight, and rightly so.
2022 will bring a renewed focus on the Regulation of Property Agents (RoPA). Having good quality property managers has never been more important as the complex Building Safety requirements relating to remediating buildings with cladding issues become clearer.
It’s not just about property management companies. Leasehold reform is promoting additional models of building ownership and greater resident decision making. This should be celebrated, but it does present both challenges and opportunities, and Resident Management Companies will need, more than ever, a professional hand to hold to guide them through.
Retirement communal living will thrive.
The restrictions over the last year have impacted all our lives, particularly older people. Research by FirstPort shows that Four in 10 over 65s say the pandemic has prompted a move to independent retirement living. Nearly a quarter (23%) of those looking to move into a retirement community had not considered this before lockdown.
Modern and purpose-built retirement communities will continue to rise in popularity as more people recognise their value in enhancing later life by providing ample opportunities to foster social connections.
More consideration will be given to how the ESG agenda is embedded into the industry.
Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) may have been seen in the past as somewhat aspirational for many in the industry, but organisations are now understanding the need to consider and react to the environmental impact of their work, as well as how best to collaborate with residents and wider communities to make a difference.
The requirements around measuring and reporting on green initiatives will be further enhanced by the Environment Act 2021, but understanding an organisation’s carbon footprint, green energy uptake or colleague wellbeing initiatives will become important boardroom metrics to measure success. There will also be a focus on how we can influence sustainable developments and make changes that support our customers and contractors to be more responsible too.