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Global real estate investment will rise to €1.2 trillion

According to data released during MIPIM by Cushman & Wakefield, investment is tipped to rise by 11%, driven by the United States and Europe.
According to data released during MIPIM by Cushman & Wakefield, global real estate investment this year is tipped to rise by 11% to €1.2 trillion, driven by the United States and Europe. “The 2014 pick-up was better than many predicted this time last year, but the 2015 outlook is stronger still, with the brakes now coming off the market,” said David Hutchings, Head of Cushman & Wakefield’s EMEA investment strategy.
And the signs of renewed confidence are evident across territories and sectors. In its European Office Market Report, covering 39 of Europe’s cities, BNP Paribas Real Estate noted that office investment in those cities hit €74 billion in 2014, the highest level since 2007.

In Central Eastern Europe, logistics investment hit a new high last year at €1.7 billion according to DTZ, while Savills predicts that equity-led property investors will this year inject some €172 billion into main European central business districts, up 7% on 2014.

Among the most ambitious European urban development projects is Grand Paris, a massive programme running to 2030 to develop a new transport system around metropolitan Paris, build residential, office, mixed-use and commercial real estate in order to transform the French capital into what the project managers describe as “a sustainable, creative city.”

With the transport elements on their own budgeted at €25 billion and involving the creation of 72 new stations, the Grand Paris team were in MIPIM looking for international investors. “All the major cities are present at MIPIM and are sometimes competing to attract investors. Not to be present would send a message to the world that we have nothing to offer,” commented Chiara Corazza, Managing Director of the Great Paris Investment Agency.

In the new world of urban alliances, several UK cities, including Liverpool and Manchester, were noticeably marketing themselves with their neighbours at MIPIM and presenting development programmes built on improved transport systems. Among those looking to attract inward investment from the international community, Leeds City Region unveiled €3.5 billion in real estate-related opportunities while Birmingham is seeking to raise €12.5 billion.

Turkey’s Istanbul pulled of a memorable "coup" at MIPIM with a breath-taking 96m² interactive city model that had delegates queuing up to see it. Addressing MIPIM attendees Ibrahim Caglar, President of the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce, reported that the city and its suburbs have some 40 major construction projects underway requiring some €28 billion in investment.

Other Turkish cities present included Antalya, which is seeking investors to support its Konyaalti Coast and Kepezalti central urban renewal projects and first-timer Balikesir, which has plans to develop logistics, industry and tourism. The total number of Turkish companies in Cannes this week was 228, a 32% increase on 2014.

On the MIPIM exhibition floor, new US (organised by the National Association of Realtors NAR) and Canadian pavilions (hosting 17 Canadian cities) reflected growing participation from North America. US company attendance this year is up 15.3% (219 companies), while Canadian attendance has grown 80% (72 companies).

Among the US delegation was pension investor Employees Retirement System (ERS) of Texas which has some €2.3 billion invested in real estate. Speaking at MIPIM, ERS Real Estate Portfolio Manager Adam Cibik said that while 80% of the company’s portfolio is currently domestic, he is now looking at opportunities in South America and Asia, particularly India, as well as Turkey.

US and Canadian investors, including MIPIM attendees Blackstone, Carlyle, WP Carey, Lone Star, Ivanhoe Cambridge, and Healthcare of Ontario Pension Fund, have been particularly active in Europe with the UK real estate sector attracting €21 billion from US investors in 2014 and France a further €7.2 billion.

Both the US and Canadian pavilions hosted major cities and markets looking to attract inward investment and occupiers including Miami, Birmingham, Illinois, Toronto, Ottowa, Montreal, Edmonton, Hamilton, Charlottetown, Perth County, Haldimand County and the Municipality of Durham.

Last autumn, three US cities (New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco) featured in the top five of Cushman & Wakefield’s ‘Winning in Growth Cities’ report, covering cities around the world. NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun says that a stronger US labour market and stable economy will drive demand for real estate, drawing in international investors.
“This year we have been encouraged by the growth in the size of the US delegation,” noted Filippo Rean, Director of MIPIM organiser Reed MIDEM’s Real Estate Division. “Given the importance of the US domestic real estate market, the state of the country’s economy and the size of the US investment funds, there is huge potential to grow the American presence at MIPIM in the future and we intend to ensure that the importance of the United States’ real estate industry is reflected here at MIPIM.”

With only two months to go before the inaugural MIPIM Japan in Tokyo (May 20-21), a strong Japanese delegation, headed by Kisaburo Ishii, Vice Minister at the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, came to MIPIM to look for overseas investment opportunities and to promote the country’s inbound investment potential as it moves towards the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

The Vice Minister said that the Olympics are expected to bring a significant increase in tourism, prompting the current crop of mixed-use developments, tourism facilities and major subterranean pedestrian systems.

In addition, Tokyo aims to re-establish itself as a major international financial centre on a par with New York and London. New special planning zones are coming on-stream with adapted planning processes to encourage offshore investors. Among Tokyo’s projects linked to the financial sector is the Toranomon District development. International investors will have the chance to discover more about Tokyo’s ambitions and inbound investment opportunities, throughout the Asian powerhouse, at MIPIM Japan.

And as cities look to attract cash and end-users, their attention is firmly focused on quality-of-life factors for urban dwellers, just as office developers and managers are overwhelmingly looking to the well-being of office occupiers.
French multinational Bouygues Immobilier chose MIPIM to unveil Nextdoor, its vision of the office and city of tomorrow. The Bouygues concept, illustrated by its new 2,600m² office complex in Paris suburb Issy-les-Moulineaux, incorporates what the company says are key imperatives including comfort, excellent transport facilities, IT simplicity and connectivity and the ability for the building to evolve to meet occupiers needs. According to Bouygues research, 40% of employees say the quality of the work space determines their choice of future employer.

One of the most talked-about innovations at this year’s MIPIM was the decision to focus attention on the Digital Revolution, ranging from Smart Cities to the use of Big and Open Data, by way of crowdfunding and the sharing economy.

“All of us in real estate, regardless of asset class or category, will be transformed by digital innovation in the coming years,” commented Chris Marlin, President of Lennar International which sponsored a well-attended ‘Digital Economy Challenges Real Estate Sector: Disruptors at the Door’ event. Marlin advised the industry that it is time to “strap in, buckle up and get ready for the wildest of wild rides.”

Among the most obvious impacts that the digital era is having on real estate is the development of hyper-connected, digital-friendly offices, making office management more efficient and providing an agreeable work environment.

According to Pierre Essig, CEO of Zublin Immobiliere France, when it comes to office management, “We have moved from being a shelter provider to being a service provider. Landlords bear the costs, which implies we have to think about what the occupier desires so we can figure out what facilities and services to provide. Data management is part of this as we need data to give advice on how to utilise the building.”

“Investors are not necessarily aware of the data revolution, but they are aware of yields and cash flow. In order to attract tenants, landlords must adapt their buildings to create a place where people want to live, work and socialise. This translates into tenant retention and thus higher valuations,” Christophe Dumas, Sogeprom’s Technical & Innovation Director told a MIPIM audience.

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