Real Estate Market Forecast

12.12.2018   |  Real Estate

From the significant investors in real estate to the Cadastre Agency, everybody agrees that the amount of transactions on the market has shrunk lately. Still, beneath this decrease, there is a whole lot of opportunities that I suggest should be taken into account. 

Market Segments

  • Land: According to Colliers International, in some cases, the rates are half the ones in the timeframe 2007-2008, the top year of the real estate bubble in Romania. These circumstances are favorable to those who envisage a complex development project. Strictly speculatively, the liquidity of land is, however, very low. 
  • Houses/apartments: By 40% lower than the top years, also according to Colliers International. The dwelling sales nevertheless dropped at the beginning of last fall (52,000 housing units, by 9,000 less than in 2017). Neither do the “First House” mortgage loans work very well: the banks have extended the terms for the program submissions. I nevertheless believe that the residential sector is a medium-long term business.
  • Offices: They continue to be the star of the market. This is on what I have relied as well and I am glad I have played correctly with a recent transaction very important to me. In brief, whatever office space was built during the recession has been occupied and the market has the ability to absorb the newly created spaces in the following years. According to Cushman & Wakefield Echinox, this type of building will continue to be a market growth engine. Of course, it is also worth noting that this segment has been very dynamic in big cities, such as Cluj or Iași, where the economic growth requires spaces for businesses.
  • Retail. Commercial spaces have increased by 4.6 times as against the level before the crisis, whereas the street retail has drastically dropped, except for the so-called traditional fairs. Experts forecast the development of large commercial areas for the real estate global players. Proof of that is one of the record deals of this year: the purchase of the retail park Militari Shopping in Bucharest, for EUR 95 million by Prime Kapital and MAS Real Estate.

Developments over the Next Few Years

All experts I have been speaking to agree on the fact that the real estate market in Romania has entered a phase of maturity. The recession of which everybody has been speaking about lately will affect the real estate market in a much nuanced way. It is hard to believe that we will witness again soon a bubble followed by somewhat similar to a crash, as it happened after 2007. On the contrary, the long term development of the local economy will turn real estate in a more and more important (in volume) and lucrative market. The change of essence refers to what I have already said on a different occasion, namely that the segment is changing from a speculative one into one in which specialization and smart intelligence development strategies matter more and more.

For the information in this analysis, I have used the following sources:

Octavian Pătrașcu  |   12.12.2018   |  Real Estate

Three things to test and maintain in HR: hard skills, soft skills, and motivation

25.04.2019   |  News  |  Startup
The quality and efficiency of an employee mainly depend on their professional qualifications, but the modern human resources theory refers to this only through a partial term, namely "hard skills". In terms of evaluations and professional management, these “hard skills” are supplemented by a range of different qualities defined as "soft skills", such as the motivation that an individual demonstrates or chooses to develop.

Hard Skills: Easy to identify, necessary, but not enough

The term "hard skills" applies especially to fundamental professional knowledge, skills, and abilities, but not only. For example, if a programmer has to write code in Java, he will obviously have to know the programming language. In the field of hard skills, however, complementary skills such as foreign languages ​​or driving licenses also come into play. If the job description is not IT-related, the computer skills - quasi-generalized today - are also in the same complementary category. Upon hiring, hard skills can be easily tested or proven. Basically, all the skills in this category can be certified through a diploma or a certificate of qualification. These skills are the basis for the future work of the employee, but in the vast majority of cases, they are not enough to ensure good performance at the workplace.

Soft Skills: harder to test, especially required for higher positions

These are somewhat social qualities, relating especially to people-interacting abilities. Soft skills include teamwork skills, communication skills, leadership qualities, and the ability to solve problems as they come. From simple politeness to a nonconflictual attitude, a whole range of attributes can be added here, including good time management or the desire to conform to strict professional ethics. If hard skills are easy to identify, in the case of soft skills, the stereotype enumerations present in CVs are never enough proof of their existence. They can somehow be felt when hiring, during their interview or, possibly, through psychological tests set up by human resources specialists. As they mostly focus on human interaction, soft skills are increasingly needed as the position of the employee in the hierarchy is higher, but the situation differs from one job description to another. If the programmer we had as an example earlier does not necessarily need soft skills when writing code, a sales or marketing specialist will interact with the top management and thus cannot work without them.

Motivation: differs from case to case

Motivation is a problem that concerned psychologists way before Maslow's Human Pyramid of Needs. There are many hypotheses and models that relate to this theory. I will just state that a first classification refers to financial and extra-financial motivations. The former refers to material compensation and are accepted unanimously. However, since the beginning of the 20th century, it has become clear that there is no direct link between payment and the efficiency of a person. 100 years ago, however, besides the famous $5-a-day salary, Henry Ford offered land lots, kindergartens for their children and, in the case of immigrants, English courses to help them integrate into the mass production processes. Today, large companies provide health insurance, relaxation areas, various educational classes, physical activity facilities. All of these include career plans and contract terms that offer job security and much more. Perhaps, the first thing to remember is that motivation differs greatly from one employee to another. Effective management should be as flexible as possible, in accordance with the needs and incentives of employees, beyond the standard packages.

The Employer’s Perspective

From what we described above it seems that that the employer will consider the three components as we’ve structured them. Hard skills are easy to identify and absolutely necessary to ensure performance in a particular position, so these are the first ones that will be tested. Soft skills can be identified to a certain extent in the midst of the employment process, but initial perceptions can be confirmed or denied later on. What’s more important is sustaining them at the workplace, often as a necessity for promotion on a higher hierarchy level. As final words, motivation has qualitative rather than quantitative aspects. Employers should be less concerned about the answer to the question "how motivated is an employee?", but rather show concern towards the type of motivation that employees are most responsive to. Schematically speaking, if hard skills are mainly the employee's concern, soft skills relate to a process that takes place between the employee and the company, and in the case of motivation, it should meet the needs of the employee. Only by paying attention to all the three components, the employer and the employee can have a mutually satisfactory and productive relationship.
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