Some 31% of overseas investors said that real estate and construction would drive UK growth in the future, up from 10% in 2019 – the highest increase of any sector.
Real estate and construction is now in the top-three most attractive sectors, behind only digital (seen as driving future UK growth by 50%) and health and wellbeing (36%).
Russell Gardner, EY UK & Ireland head of real estate, hospitality & construction, said: “The government’s stated infrastructure plans have likely played a role in boosting interest in the real estate and construction sector.
“But the significant impact of the pandemic on UK high streets and workplaces has also encouraged many investors to re-imagine what real estate will need to offer in the future.”
The pandemic has re-shaped investors’ strategies, with 61% saying that the changing model in major city centres will become an important theme in future investments.
Underlining the built environment’s importance to FDI more widely, 23% of respondents cited the reliability and coverage of infrastructure as an important factor for deciding whether to invest in a particular country.
EY’s UK Attractiveness Survey found that the proportion of overseas companies planning to invest in the UK in the next 12 months has fallen to 25% from a 10-year high of 31% in April.
Only 43% are continuing with the UK investments they planned before the pandemic, down from 72% in April.