The Real Estate Law Review: Editor's Preface

Since a mystery disease, then known as 2019-nCoV, first appeared in Wuhan back in December 2019, coronavirus (covid-19) has continued to be the dominant global issue. The covid-19 pandemic has affected the economy like nothing this generation has previously experienced. Every major jurisdiction has been forced into a series of lockdowns, with the very real possibility of more to come. Fundamentally, the pandemic has been a terrible human tragedy with, at the time of writing, more than 250 million cases globally and over 5 million deaths. Although there is still some way to go, we are starting to see light at the end of the tunnel. The covid-19 pandemic will undoubtedly affect the global economy for some time to come. It will also leave its mark on how we live, work and play, including on each and every aspect of the global real estate market.

Another global event saw the great and the good, as well as a healthy number of protestors, converge on Glasgow for COP26. Despite the absence of some key world leaders and criticism that more could have been achieved, key pledges have been made to fight the climate change emergency. The year 2021 may be remembered as the year the world finally acknowledged that something needs to be done and now. The built environment accounts for more than its fair share of carbon emissions and the property industry is beginning to wake up to the fact that significant changes are necessary. How we design, build and use buildings is an important part of the transition towards net zero carbon. Environmental, social and governance (ESG) has finally become a very real issue with all parties, from governments through landlords, tenants and funders to individual workers, having a vested interest.

A great deal has happened since the first edition of The Real Estate Law Review appeared in 2012, but nothing more significant than the covid-19 pandemic, a truly global crisis. This eleventh edition of The Real Estate Law Review will continue to prove its worth by providing readers with an invaluable overview of how key markets across the globe operate and how they react to major world events. The covid-19 pandemic and COP26 have served as reminders that it is not possible to look at domestic markets in isolation. Investors and their advisers need to understand real estate assets in the context of global events, and The Real Estate Law Review continues to help its readers to do just that.

This edition extends to 24 key jurisdictions around the world, and I am very grateful to all the distinguished practitioners for their insightful contributions. Each chapter has been updated to highlight key developments and their effect on the relevant domestic market. Together, the chapters offer a helpful and accessible overview of the global real estate market. Overseas investors are key influencers in most markets, and it is vital that practitioners are able to advise on a particular deal in the light of an understanding of their client's own jurisdiction.

The covid-19 pandemic is a truly global issue affecting every jurisdiction and, of course, its real estate market. Although it has been overshadowed by the covid-19 pandemic, Brexit and the associated economic and political fallout from leaving the European Union has continued to be a concern for the UK economy and its property industry. Rising costs, a critical shortage of labour and materials as well as crippling supply chain issues have threatened to destabilise the post-pandemic recovery. On a positive note, investment volumes have bounced back and we are seeing increased interest from both overseas and domestic investors, underlining the continued importance of UK real estate as an investment asset. Although global real estate investment has picked up, the recovery has been uneven across countries, markets and sectors. The United Kingdom will be anxious to maintain its position at the top of global shopping lists. The world's growing cache of investment capital is likely to prompt a surge in investment activity once international travel and business confidence stabilises. The United Kingdom seems certain to remain attractive to overseas investors looking for a safe haven for their funds. The next few years will undoubtedly be challenging as we continue on the journey to recovery, but opportunities will arise, and real estate will remain a key part of global investment strategies.

Once again, I wish to express my deep and sincere thanks to all my fellow contributors to this eleventh edition of The Real Estate Law Review. I would also like to thank the members of the Law Review team for their sterling efforts in coordinating the contributions and compiling this edition. Finally, I wish everyone the very best of health for 2022 and beyond.

John Nevin
Slaughter and May
February 2022

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