New proptech model targets pandemic ‘location revolution’

A new proptech model which tracks the economic vitality of more than 2,800 locations across the UK aims to help investors and developers deal with the ‘location revolution’ that will follow the Covid-19 pandemic.

Developed by JPES Partners, Evaluate|Locate, analyses millions of verified data points regarding business density; population trends; employment; and residential property values to provide ratings back to 2010. It then generates an Economic Vitality Index which ranks locations and gives insight into their economic ‘direction of travel’.

JPES Partners Head of Property, Duncan Lamb, says: “Property is essentially an investment in a local economy, and we can now measure this ‘location factor’ in way that is comparable, consistent and benchmarked.

“The model was originally built to bring more precision to the location sections of investment reports and a wider economic perspective to portfolio reporting. However, the impact of the pandemic is accelerating a revolution in the way investors and developers now need to assess locations.

“The model is already showing us the economic impact of the pandemic and some of the resultant anomalies. For example, of the 180,000-plus new businesses that have become active since Lockdown, more than three quarters of them have been created outside of major cities. This would appear to bear out the theory that business will, for the present at least, be increasingly attracted to localised, suburban locations.

“Similarly, the model is showing unemployment spiking at more than 10 per cent in some locations whereas others have yet to see any rise.”

Evaluate|Locate characterises every location in the UK across more than 50 economic dimensions. This includes metrics such as a detailed breakdown of a location’s businesses community, unemployment rates and average earnings as well as population growth and residential property values. The model also generates an overall index rating for each selected location, based on monthly data collected since January 2010.

Locations can be compared in a consistent way with an all-locations benchmark or as part of a specific group.

JPES Partners Associate Director, Adam Kirby – who built Evaluate|Locate – says: “The model is powered by postcode locations and is consequently completely scalable. So it can analyse everything from a single postcode district through to a whole town, city, region or a bespoke area. It enables you to track local economic performance in locations already of interest – or even ask for suggestions of new locations.

“Successful property investment and development often pivots on spotting themes, gaps and anomalies which produce opportunity. Anecdotal evidence about an area is no longer enough, so we believe Evaluate|Locate can help to power a more evidence-led approach.

“For asset managers, it brings science to the process of location analysis and reporting. This approach can be particularly relevant when reporting to overseas investors who do not have first-hand knowledge of the UK.”