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Technology and ESG round out leading three issues impacting real estate, followed by seven others researched by top international commercial property professionals

Chicago, IL — (June 23, 2021) —The Counselors of Real Estate, an international consortium of commercial property professionals, today released its newest report, Top Ten Issues Affecting Real Estate. The group identified, debated, and voted on current and emerging issues expected to have the most significant impact on real estate throughout the 2021-2022 cycle. Remote Work & Mobility and how it affects commercial buildings globally was named the top issue, followed by Technology and ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance).

“As we emerge from COVID-19 into a new world replete with local and global disruptions alike, our industry has been forced to recognize that adaptability and resiliency are paramount in real estate markets,” said Michel Couillard, CRE, 2021 global chair of The Counselors of Real Estate. “It is undeniable that the pandemic’s disruption significantly impacted human behavior in how and where people have chosen to work. Now, with an escalating return to “business as usual,” and workers beginning to return to offices, landlords and companies nevertheless are facing repositioning of the workspace and the benefit of easily adaptable and sharable spaces.”

Time will tell as to which population migration and space use behaviors will endure, as all real estate sectors will be watching closely and poised to react. Property owners and managers should be flexible in order to accommodate these demand-driven changes in the desired use and location of space,” continued Couillard, who is also president and CEO of BUSAC Real Estate in Montreal. He added that an immediate effect of a return to the office is the residual benefit to restaurants, transportation, shops, dry cleaners and other retailers, which will benefit property owners as well.

Counselors ranked the acceleration and adoption of technology as having the second greatest impact on the industry. The pandemic had a universal effect on technology, and the real estate industry was no exception. “The stressors were not about new tech, but about the acceptance of it. Lockdown-driven changes in our work, the economy, in social structures, and in our personal behavior forced the industry to put any earlier reluctance aside,” said Couillard.

Rising this year into third place among issues highlighted by the group were ESG initiatives. The issue was fueled by multiple drivers, but led by shifts in consumer preferences, regulatory requirements, trillions of dollars of wealth transferring to younger generations committed to philanthropic living, a blurring of work and societal expectations, and a full sprint to attract and retain top talent. “Investor and market demand for ESG programs in real estate spans the globe with the key questions being what is material, where are we vulnerable, and which strategies will cost-effectively mitigate risks and create long-term value?” conveyed Couillard. “The pandemic was a stress test, revealing vulnerabilities, appetites, and new and increased risks,” explained Couillard.“These themes present themselves in the 2021-22 Top Ten Issues, which are highly interconnected and indicative of a newly changed and further evolving real estate environment. We have been awakened to some familiar but nascent areas of importance, namely cybersecurity, supply chain, and price instability. None of these are new concepts, but in a span of months or even just weeks, we saw high profile hacks, shortages of resources like microchips, lumber and labor, and rising prices across the board.”

“Set against the prevailing environment, our members identified the weakness of housing supply and its impact on affordability as the sixth issue affecting the real estate industry globally,” continued Couillard “In the U.S. the supply of housing was already anemic, but when the pandemic hit, plunging mortgage rates and the resulting surge in sales created what is now an historic low level of housing inventory.”

Supply Chain Logistics, Infrastructure, Housing Supply and Affordability, Political Polarization, Economic Change, Adaptive Reuse, and the Bifurcation of Capital Markets rounded out the 4th through 10th place rankings, respectively.

Clients of Counselors seek unbiased, objective advice on the critical factors that will impact all property sectors today, as well as those issues that may affect their decisions over the next ten years. The thought leadership initiative represented in the Top Ten Issues Affecting Real Estate is an invaluable service to those clients and to the real estate industry in general.

For additional information and perspective on each issue, visit

About The Counselors of Real Estate

The Counselors of Real Estate® is an international consortium of commercial property professionals from leading real estate, financial, law, valuation, and accounting and business advisory firms, as well as real property experts in academia and government. Membership is selective and extended by invitation, although commercial real estate and allied practitioners with 10 years of proven experience may apply.

Among assignments large and small, Counselors have resolved the dispute between the developer of the World Trade Center and its insurers post September 11, led the privatization of U.S. Army Housing, developed a multi-billion-dollar, 10-year master plan for Philadelphia Public Schools, created and endowed the MIT Center for Real Estate, and valued both the Grand Canyon and Yale University. Counselors reside in 20 countries and U.S. territories, with only 1,000 professionals holding the CRE® credential worldwide.


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