While a degree of uncertainty clouds the economic outlook at the start of 2019, we believe that growth and confidence will pick up throughout the year. Momentum in the consumer and business sectors is strong, China is already deploying extra fiscal stimulus to boost its economy, and we expect growth to pick up in Europe. The U.K. is likely to leave the European Union in an orderly fashion with a mutually acceptable deal. The U.S. and China are also likely to reach a trade agreement, as President Trump clears the decks for another campaign in 2020. Most importantly, the U.S. Federal Reserve has indicated that it will keep interest rates unchanged for the time being and be more accommodative if necessary.
Real estate markets are buzzing with innovation. The amount of completed new buildings has steadily increased around the world over the last three years in the industrial, office and multifamily sectors. However, unlike past cycles, it is not a speculative surge, but a more controlled rise in stock that, in most cases, matches the increase in demand that has come from a decade of economic growth and corporate expansion. Overall, real estate markets are in good shape, even if the first quarter of 2019 is a bit quieter than usual