Sabina Reeves headshotIntroductory
letter from
Sabina Reeves

Chief Economist & Head of Research


Welcome to the second edition of Global Vision, CBRE Investment Management’s publication that takes a deeper look at some of the structural factors impacting the real assets investment landscape.


Two major global drivers are going to dominate the investment landscape for the next decade. The first is easy to guess – the drive toward net zero carbon economies. This is already having a major impact on how real assets investors view the types of asset they want to create and own and is influencing everything from how we underwrite capex to how we insure against environmental risk.

But the second factor is just as important and is either hidden from the conversation or poorly understood– and that is demographics. 2020 will be long remembered as the year when the global economy was radically impacted by the pandemic. But it was also a pivotal year for global demographics – and all of those pivot points have implications for real assets investors.

In our second edition of Global Vision, we look at how some of these demographic changes will impact the locations and formats of real asset that will look attractive over the next decade, and ultimately which investment strategies we should be pursuing.

  • In our opening essay, I frame the debate by highlighting the five top trends in global demographics to watch out for, and what their implications might be.

  • Then, starting with the youngest discrete cohort that influences real assets demand, David Inskip looks at the outlook for demographic-driven demand for student housing as balanced against the disruption of online learning and emergence of new supply in emerging markets.
  • Moving up the age cohorts to millennials, Brett Fawley interrogates the factors underlying the move from expensive city centres to suburbs and more affordable cities outside the traditional gateway markets and the opportunities this is creating for new formats of for-rent residential.
  • Shane Taylor then picks up the baton in looking at the global shortage of workers and the complex interactions between declining birth rates; increasing barriers to labour mobility; and the rise in automation. All of these factors influence the types of real assets we need to invest in as well as how we view the provision of funding for retirees.
  • Taking a broader focus, our new colleague in infrastructure research, Tania Tsoneva, focuses on transportation as the sector most likely to benefit from population growth, a booming middle class, and urbanisation as we move out of the pandemic.
  • And finally, our new credit researcher Dominic Smith, explains how credit investments can be used to gain strategic and tactical exposure to the demographic dividend.

We hope that you find these essays thought-provoking and insightful. 

Sabina Reeves

Essays