2020 European office take-up lowest since 2002 due toCOVID-19 pandemic
January 15, 2021
The public health response to the Covid-19 pandemic continued to determine the economic and real estate market performance in Q4. With a second wave of outbreak accelerating, many countries across Europe imposed further restrictions or lockdowns on its citizenry in October and November. The effect was to reverse a forecast expansion of GDP in the fourth quarter, leading to a double-dip economic contraction in 2020. Momentum had already been fading before restrictions were tightened, reflecting the unpredictability of the situation and households’ and firms’ inability to plan. The extension of government support schemes will help to minimise the fallout, or economic scarring, resulting from the toughened restrictions, but will not prevent it entirely meaning losses will accumulate. As we enter a new calendar year, a further tightening of restrictions has been conducted in many countries. The net effect will be to deepen the immediate economic hit and delay and lengthen the recovery. More positively, the rollout of vaccination programmes across the region offer hope for the end of lockdown-reopening cycles, and the prospect for a return to some semblance of normality.