By Scott Baltic, Contributing Editor
New York—The 27th annual MIPIM, which convened in Cannes, France, for four days last week, reportedly brought together the largest-ever gathering of international investors (more than 4,800), along with developers, end-users, architects, hotel groups, public authorities and other CRE players. The total attendance of 23,5000, from about 90 nations, was 10 percent higher than last year.
One trend, according to the organizers, was that many cities joined marketing forces at MIPIM (Le Marché International des Professionnels de l’Immobilier) to attract investors. For the first time at MIPIM, all of the Ile-de-France exhibitors in the Paris Region pavilion were focused around a single project, rather than individual, largely unrelated schemes. That project is the Grand Paris Express, a massive, four-line expansion of the city’s Metro system that will open in phases between 2020 and 2030.
The same was true outside Cannes’ Palais des Festivals et des Congrès, too. In the United Kingdom, cities reportedly teaming up to promote themselves is rapidly becoming the norm, the Northern Powerhouse of Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield and Newcastle being one example, and the Midlands Engine, an alliance of 11 Local Enterprise Partnerships in the greater Birmingham region being another.
There were also new and more active players at MIPIM. St. Petersburg, Russia, and Dubai-based developer Nakheel had major new pavilions; Turkey sent its largest delegation ever, of 250 companies and cities; and Chinese mega-developer Dalian Wanda made its first appearance at MIPIM.
The central theme of MIPIM 2016 was “Housing the World.” And given U.N. data that more than 50 percent of the world’s population now lives in cities and that annual urban growth is at 1.8 percent, it seemed highly appropriate.
“The yield environment has been typically low for the residential sector, but at the moment it looks reasonably attractive,” Mahdi Mokrane, LaSalle Investment Management’s head of European research and strategy, told one session. “In Germany, there are perhaps 10 to 12 cities which we believe will really benefit from growth, even though nationally the population is in decline.”
“We like the Netherlands for different reasons,” he added, and also London, Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds in the United Kingdom.
Though the residential market in France is stable, Silvio Estienne, general manager at Patrizia Immobilien AG France, told a panel, he also expressed concern about the “squeezed middle class,” who have neither access to affordable housing nor the incomes to buy their own properties.
In a different session, Ingvar Sejr Hansen, Copenhagen’s head of planning, described the challenges his city faced after it lost more than half of its population to the suburbs and rural areas in the 1980’s. Today, he said, the goal is to rebuild Copenhagen’s population to 750,000 by 2027, which will require 45,000 new houses, 20 percent of them affordable.
Richard Fagg, London and South East director with Bouygues Development, commented on London’s rather larger challenge: “They have to build 45,000 houses in 10 years. We have to build 50,000 a year.”
A later, Canada-centric panel discussed how contemporary ways of living and working are redefining living spaces. “You can’t spend too much time getting to and from work,” said John Forrester, chief executive EMEA at Cushman & Wakefield. “Current and future generations aren’t going to stand for that.”
“Downtown is the place to be right now,” said Arthur Lloyd, executive vice president, office, North America, at Ivanhoé Cambridge. “The modern worker expects things to be brought to them, not the other way around…. We’re also going to see much more multifunctional space in offices and dwellings, and much smaller unit space sizes.”
Image courtesy of the MIPIM official Facebook page