Cross-Generational Attitudes to Transform the Built Environment, Says CBRE

· New report identifies four overarching themes that will influence real estate decisions as wellbeing, location, ESG and hybrid working

· More than 40% of those planning to move in the next two years want to be closer to urban cores

· 90% of respondents in Europe want to be in the office at least some of the time

· Consumers choose to purchase in-store for seven out of ten categories

Global real estate advisor, CBRE, has released a new report that identifies the cross-generational attitudes that will transform the built environment.

In the first survey of its kind, CBRE polled more than 20,000 people worldwide, from baby boomers to Gen Zers, to determine how they will live, work and shop in the future, and how this will impact the real estate they use. The report identifies wellbeing, location, ESG and hybrid working as the four overarching themes that will significantly influence real estate decisions, with minimal nuances across the US, APAC and Europe.


Across Europe, 32% of respondents are planning on moving in the next two years and of this group, 42% are planning to relocate closer to urban cores. This is contrary to the narrative seen throughout the pandemic around the migration to the suburbs and demonstrates the ongoing desire to be based near city centres, particularly for younger generations.

Furthermore, almost half of those that intend to move are planning to rent, presenting an opportunity for Build-to-Rent developers and investors.   


Following the working style changes brought about by the pandemic, the return to office continues. Across Europe, 38% of respondents said that they are back in the office full-time and when asked about their ideal future work schedule, 90% of consumers surveyed still want to be in the workplace at least some of the time, demonstrating there is still a definitive need for the office.

Shorter commute times (cited by 67% of European consumers) and better overall location (cited by 54%) are key factors when determining office visit frequency. This indicates that location is a hugely important factor for investors and occupiers alike when considering new acquisitions.


The past two years has seen e-commerce take a leading role in how consumers choose to shop, however bricks and mortar retail was identified as the preferred shopping method for seven of the ten categories CBRE asked about.

Consumers value the in-store shopping experience, and product is crucial. A total of 61% of European respondents stated that the primary driver to visit the store remains the product, whether that be opportunities to see or try out the goods.

For retailers, the physical store can offer more than sales going through the till, with 50% of consumers surveyed wanting to see a product in-store before purchasing online. For returns, 43% of consumers said they prefer to return an online order in-store rather than by post. As e-commerce costs continue to soar, this demonstrates the ever-growing importance of the retail and logistics omnichannel.

Tasos Vezyridis, Executive Director, Research, Europe

The consumer should be at the heart of every real estate decision to deliver the strongest results, and that is why we launched this survey. The findings of our research have clear calls to action for real estate occupiers and investors across a range of sectors, particularly those in the residential, office, retail and logistics sectors. Now is the time to reevaluate the view that all consumers want to live in the suburbs and work and shop remotely.

Tasos Vezyridis, Executive Director, Research, Europe