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Real estate sector to miss 2020 sustainability target: RICS
Date: 28 May 2010
One in five surveyors globally believe that 90% of the commercial real estate stock will still fall short of meeting good sustainable standards by 2020 without a rethink of green incentives, according to the RICS survey of commercial property agents due to be released on Friday.

The numbers are even starker at a regional level with nearly half (49 percent) of all surveyors in Latin America believing that it will take more than a decade for even a small minority (1 in 10) of the commercial real estate stock to meet good sustainable standards such as those championed by LEED and BREEAM, the RICS Global Property Sustainability Survey Q1 2010 indicates.

Despite the general view that new buildings are meeting better standards, with new stock typically representing only 1-2% of existing supply in any one year, the survey of agents highlights the immense challenges that governments face in putting idealistic real estate plans into action on a global scale. RICS said it believes that an urgent rethink to incentivise the refurbishment of existing stock should be seen as a top priority over the coming decade.

The challenges appear bigger in the developing markets with agents in Africa and the Middle East similarly pessimistic about meeting relatively modest targets within the next decade. Interestingly, agents in Emerging Asia and Emerging Europe were less pessimistic and more in line with the view in developed economies.

Commenting on the survey results, RICS Global Head of Sustainability Policy, Ursula Hartenberger said national governments must help the real estate sector. Hartenberger: 'The findings of the survey clearly indicate that governments worldwide have a key role to play in providing the right sort of fiscal and direct incentives to raise the quality of the real estate stock. This will send the right signals to sceptical investors who still remain concerned that the benefits of sustainable property do not outweigh the upfront investment costs.

'Crucially, developing government policies which incentivise the refurbishment of the existing stock may reap the greatest benefits in the coming decade. With mounting environmental legislation likely to affect the real estate sector worldwide, smart forward-thinking investment is simply risk-proofing the sector for the future and getting ahead of the curve.'
PropertyDay 28 May 2010
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