Last week Cannes saw a catalogue of who’s who in the property industry descend on its shores as Reed Midem hosted its annual MIPIM conference. But the usual bevy of boats sparkling on the horizon was noticeably absent this year.
I don’t think it is the challenging market conditions alone that contributed to the decline in numbers this year, rather that Reed Midem needs to refresh MIPIM if this decline is to be reversed. Less and less visitors to Cannes in MIPIM week visit the Bunker as the most valuable networking is done elsewhere. The response should not be heavy handed policing but making sure everyone wants to visit it. This should include more heavyweight presentations on a global or European basis. Less space should be given to development corporations and much better/reasonably priced space provided to leading REITs and other developers; MIPIM has an increasingly public sector feel which even the public sector would not welcome!
I attended nine events over two and a half days. Overwhelmingly, the main topic was the positions being adopted by the banks and the extent to which a flexible view would continue to be taken over loan to value covenants on properties not considered to be prime or near prime. But, time will tell more clearly than any policy statements.
Another area much discussed was how long prime central London properties could continue to fetch prices based upon sub five per cent yields. The minority view this as a bubble but the predominant view appears to be it is understandable pricing in comparison to government and corporate bond yields as real estate also offers protection against longer term inflation fears.
Looking around, my observation was that MIPIM has insufficient focus on the core markets in the leading G-20 economies and too much on fringe markets in, for example, Russian regions. MIPIM should be global but needs to weight its focus on current investment portfolios and those over the next three/four years.
Overall a fall in numbers was to be expected and a less ostentatious and more business focus should be welcomed. However MIPIM does need to learn from ExpoReal if the latter is not to replace it as the main annual property event.
By way of postcript, Boris, please can the London Stand have a new panoramic model and some up to date graphics!