A love letter, but not to Brexit

EDITOR’S COMMENT: I very nearly wrote about Brexit this week. About how we are seeing the real impact of the continuing uncertainty on our market.

I was going to wax lyrical about how a US-based gaming company has pulled out of a multimillion pound deal to acquire a new headquarters in Greater Manchester because of Brexit jitters, that £2.7bn has been pulled from property funds over the past 12 months – mainly due to concerns over Brexit – and that Mark Dixon’s IWG has started stockpiling coffee, furniture and toilet paper as the threat of a no-deal Brexit becomes ever more real.

And then I was going to tell you a story about the rather lovely lunch I had last week in the offices of a rather nice champagne house and about how they too have started stockpiling with gusto (at least we’ll still have bubbles to quaff whether we are celebrating or commiserating). Then I wondered about telling you to listen to EG’s latest Future of Real Estate podcast (available free on the EG Property Podcast channel) where M7’s Richard Croft admits that he is ready to make fundamental changes to the business in the face of a no-deal or hard Brexit.

But then I thought, no. What I am going to write about is quality of life and the role that real estate can have on it.

I’m also going to be honest, take off my objective journalist hat, and admit that I love professor Sadie Morgan a bit. Well, more than a bit if I’m really honest.

I love Sadie because she is a person who doesn’t just sit idly by. She’s a doer. She’s a connector of people. She is engaging and ridiculously charming. (And she likes to ride a bike, which makes her doubly OK in my book).

This week Sadie has launched the Quality of Life Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation with the purpose of raising people’s quality of life and wellbeing by improving the built environment. She’s working hard to pull together all corners of the built environment and the public and private sectors to start to make a real difference for real people.

“Over the next year we will carry out research to work out quality-of-life principles and look at ways of affecting change in how the building industry works,” she says. “Bit by bit we want to work with others to make a positive impact on our homes, communities and the wider world.”

It is another example of how real estate is changing. How the narrative about what it can do is transforming. How purpose as well as profit is now making its way towards the top of the list when it comes what real estate can deliver.

And it is why I’m finding it a little easier as each week goes by to fall in love with a few more of our new real estate leaders. Maybe even you.

Speaking of transformation, the EG Awards are happening in just over a fortnight and this year they really are different. If you’re coming along and have received the memo that it is not black tie this year and have immediately gone into a panic about what you should wear, fear not. Head to my LinkedIn or Twitter profiles for a little secret video I have made just for you. You never know, you might even be one of property’s most stylish who has made it into the vid.

To send feedback, e-mail samantha.mcclary@egi.co.uk or tweet @samanthamcclary or @estatesgazette