Property Professionals See Former Retail Premises As Biggest Untapped Resource For New Residential Housing In UK, MRI Research Reveals

Survey of UK property experts offers hope for the High Street and shows most in the industry are unfazed by the prospect of Brexit

LONDON – December 10, 2018 – Two thirds (66%) of property professionals in the UK believe former retail premises could be the biggest untapped resource for new residential development, according to a survey by MRI Software, a global leader in real estate software solutions. Nearly three quarters (72%) of those surveyed see residential redevelopment of sites previously used by retailers giving the British High Street a new lease of life, the research report, Charting UK Property Trends, shows.

The research also reveals that three quarters (76%) of the industry experts MRI canvassed think Brexit will not seriously hamper the ability of the UK property sector to get the funding it needs to develop properties – including 94% of the property investors, owners and developers. Over three quarters (77%) of respondents also see demand for residential rentals in the UK accelerating, driven by the continued high cost of buying a home.

“Charting UK Property Trends provides a comprehensive inside view of the challenges property players face today and where the opportunities lie,” says Dermot Briody, Executive Managing Director, Europe at MRI Software. “The research shows we will see a far greater number of people living in town centres, which will give a boost to retailers on the High Street while feeding other businesses such as gyms and entertainment venues.”

The survey took the responses of 144 senior property experts from a range of organisations, including investors/owners/developers, consultants, contractors, property managers, sales and lettings agents, service providers, and business occupiers.

“The vast majority of industry players we surveyed were bullish on the outlook for the sector,” Briody notes. “Even where Brexit is concerned, the positive outweighed the negative, as two-thirds maintain that even a Hard Brexit won’t hurt their ability to get funding for property development.”

Other findings in the survey of property professionals include:

  • Eight in ten (82%) say ‘Generation Rent’ – young adults unable to purchase a home due to high housing prices – is here to stay, with little likelihood buying conditions will improve
  • The same proportion (82%) say Generation Rent is renting for longer, driving demand for higher quality properties
  • Nine in ten (90%) see rentals becoming more important to the UK residential market over next 12-18 months
  • Four out of five (81%) say co-working / shared office spaces such as WeWork are likely to be users of former retail premises in UK town and city centers
  • Three quarters (75%) say their organisation struggles to turn the data it holds into actionable insight but needs to be able to do so
  • Over half (54%) say connecting up or linking applications, processes and data within their company is difficult and want an easier way to do it

The online survey took place in October and November. To download a copy of the report, click here.

About MRI Software
MRI Software is a leading provider of innovative real estate software applications and hosted solutions. MRI’s comprehensive and flexible technology platform coupled with an open and connected ecosystem meets the unique needs of real estate businesses – from property-level management and accounting to investment modelling and analytics for the global commercial and residential markets. A pioneer of the real estate software industry, MRI develops lasting client relationships based on nearly five decades of expertise and insight. Through leading solutions and a rich partner ecosystem, MRI liberates real estate companies to elevate their business and gain a competitive edge. For more information, please visit

Zoe Mumba / Hugh Filman
020 7486 4900
Platform Communications

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