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By Paul Fender

UKREiiF 2024: Reflections and Insights

Attending the UK Real Estate Investment and Infrastructure Forum (UKREiiF) 2024 in Leeds was a highlight of the year. Now in its third year, UKREiiF is crucial for the real estate and infrastructure sectors, gathering thousands of key stakeholders to exchange knowledge and build business relationships. ECE Design Director Paul Fender shares his insights after attending for the first time this year.

Opportunities and Challenges

The forum showcased numerous opportunities and challenges, focusing on projects vital to the North West and beyond. Unlike other industry events, UKREiiF emphasised collaboration among investors, developers, and local authorities. We ultimately have the same goals, so being in a place that brought the different branches of the industry together really fostered that united feeling.

Sustainable Future

Unsurprisingly, sustainability was a central theme of the conference, with large redevelopment projects demonstrating a commitment to reducing carbon emissions by refurbishing instead of demolishing buildings. As retrofitting and regeneration are becoming increasingly important to achieve net zero carbon, it was uplifting to see the general industry emphasise this area.

Growth Sectors

Despite a day of rain and gloomy weather, the conference provided inspiring news as well. Not only are we seeing significant growth in the Build-to-Rent (BTR) sector, with a 126% increase in transactions from Q4 2022 to Q4 2023; but the student accommodation market also remains strong despite a supply-demand imbalance, highlighting ongoing challenges and opportunities in the sector.

Key Themes

Common themes throughout the conference included sustainability, social value, and vibrant spaces, emphasising that these are becoming standard practices rather than unique selling points.

UKREiiF 2024 provided valuable insights and networking opportunities, particularly for those focused on the North of England, an area where ECE is increasingly working. The event underscored progress in sustainability and growth sectors, making it worthwhile for industry professionals. We will aim to be there again next year.

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