JLL suggests strengthening of central London post Covid-19

Changes to economic geography of central London will enhance its appeal

July 30, 2020


JLL has identified five ways in which central London could be strengthened following the resolution of Covid-19. 

Despite its prediction that the capital could potentially see a longer recovery period than other UK cities, JLL cited that the economic geography of central London would see some positive shifts that would emerge in the medium to long term.

JLL has identified the following factors as having the potential to strengthen central London:

  • Agglomeration economics will still be essential to success – except for New York and Paris nowhere can compete with London. The mix of retail, leisure, cultural and business is unparalleled, and London’s diverse economy will be critical to its long-term ability to recover.
  • Changing demographics – there could be a movement of ‘established’ families and older people moving away from inner London – choosing to work remotely and access the city more infrequently. This would allow younger groups to move into, or remain in central London, potentially creating a city which is even more attractive to occupiers and investors.
  • Quantum of highly qualified people – London’s proximity to highly-qualified people is unparalleled in the UK and Europe. Its ability to bring together so many talented people in one place and this sharing of ideas within such close proximity is central to its economic productivity and is unlikely to be diminished.
  • Central locations will become more important – the difficulties associated with travelling on public transport will increase the importance of accessible central locations in the short term. London has the capacity to house a large amount of people close to its central hubs, while longer term, as people return safely to public transport, its accessibility will be reinforced.
  • Greener transport system – central London can accommodate large numbers of pedestrians and cyclists and has already committed extensive resources to expanding bicycle lanes and pedestrian zones and is well placed to take the opportunity to develop a greener transport system.

Neil Prime, head of central London markets and UK agency, said: “How London’s businesses and organisations respond will depend upon the speed and shape of the recovery. In the longer-term, Covid-19 will no doubt force many companies to consider how they occupy office space, with issues such as flexibility, densification and employee health and well-being positioned front and centre of any future real estate strategy. Human, economic and business impacts are inevitable, but many of the measures, policies, and investment into infrastructure that London has implemented in recent decades to cement its position as a key global city will help to mitigate risk in the short and longer-term and ensure it can adapt to meet new challenges and present its inhabitants with new opportunities.”

Elaine Rossall, head of UK offices research at JLL, said: “London has always been a popular destination for people to live-work- and play, and the fundamentals of why people chose to work in the capital have not necessarily been undermined by Covid-19.  While behavior may change, with individuals seeking greater flexibility, the need for connection and collaboration will drive people back into the capital.”

About JLL

JLL (NYSE: JLL) is a leading professional services firm that specializes in real estate and investment management. JLL shapes the future of real estate for a better world by using the most advanced technology to create rewarding opportunities, amazing spaces and sustainable real estate solutions for our clients, our people and our communities. JLL is a Fortune 500 company with annual revenue of $18.0 billion, operations in over 80 countries and a global workforce of more than 94,000 as of March 31, 2020. JLL is the brand name, and a registered trademark, of Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated. For further information, visit