New opportunities emerge in uncertain times

The 34th edition of the MIPIM trade fair took place in Cannes between 12th and 15th March. The main motto of this year’s MIPIM was ‘Housing matters!’.

Over 20,000 participants gathered in the south of France, including investors, real estate experts and representatives of public and state administration from a total of 90 countries. On an area of 19,500 sq m, they could visit 340 stands and exhibitions. The traditional participants, as well as new delegations from North America, the Middle East, South East Asia and other countries, demonstrated attractive investment areas at MIPIM.

MIPIM once again attracted representatives of the world’s largest institutional investors, such as pension funds or mutual funds, insurance companies, university endowments and sovereign wealth funds. Overall, MIPIM welcomed investors managing over 4 trillion euros in assets.

MIPIM 2024 has so far been the most sustainable edition characterized by four commitments: to make MIPIM cleaner, greener, more diverse and to increase its social impact.

This year, the Czech Republic remained on the sidelines – unlike its neighbouring countries (with the exception of Slovakia) – after a long time, not one city or region was presented at MIPIM.

Nevertheless, the representatives of Czech, or global locally operating companies found their way to Cannes. We asked some of them for a brief summary of their impressions.

  1. How did you take in the main theme of this year’s MIPIM and in what form?
  2. We are preparing an article about artificial intelligence in architecture. Was this theme evident at the fair?
  3. Which presentations were interesting and in a certain way inspirational for you?
  4. The MIPIM Awards competition always enjoys great interest in Cannes. Was any of the submitted projects one of your favourites?

M.Sc. Tero Loukonen, Head of Research, PASSERINVEST GROUP, a.s.

  1. Housing and its various sub-categories (co-living, student housing, multifamily, etc.) were present in various discussions during the week. A lack of affordable housing is a big discussion topic in many markets. The half-day summit ‘Housing matters!’ held on Monday was an inspirational one. Sustainability, Net Zero and ESG were also very much discussed in various sessions during the week. I felt that investment market sentiment was better than in last year’s EXPO REAL, although the MIPIM discussions did not clearly indicated as to when the investment market would become more active, even though many expect increase in transactions this year. Many speakers felt that we were at the bottom or close to the bottom when it came to the re-evaluation process. Some were of the opinion that now is the right time to start looking for opportunities to invest while others believed that re-evaluation in Europe was not over yet. Nevertheless, the market seems to be more confident in where the interest rates are heading, and the investors can see that.
  2. Yes, it was. Several speakers were talking about AI in various conference sessions. And I also attended the ‘AI and Real Estate’ session, which was actually one of the most attended conference sessions held in the large auditorium of ‘Leaders’ Perspective Stage’. Firstly, it was an impressive presentation given by professor from Columbia University followed by a panel discussion where a director from a global architectural company spoke about the way the AI changes architects’ work. He had actually presented ‘AI and Architecture’ in SOUP Urban Festival in 2023.
  3. Yes, there were plenty of them, so I will just name a few here. In the ‘Housing matters!’ half-day summit, which was held on Monday, there was a presentation by Kai-Uwe Bergmann, a partner of the Bjarke Ingels Group, on ‘Housing scenarios for the future’. On Tuesday morning, there was the ‘Places where people want to work’ session held at London stand, followed by a very good discussion in the ‘Global investors vision’ session held on Tuesday afternoon. The Wednesday’s session ‘AI and Real Estate’, which I have already mentioned, was a very impressive one. The ‘Trends in U.S. Real Estate and Capital Markets’ held on Wednesday was a great discussion. On Thursday, there was a really memorable discussion held at the ‘Macroeconomics and raising financing’ session. Otherwise, the presentations held at the exhibitor stands of Grand Paris and NEOM from Saudi Arabia were also impressive and memorable.
  4. I attended the MIPIM Awards ceremony on Thursday evening, so, I had a chance to see all the nominees and winners. I liked Krallerhof’s project Atmosphere by Hadi Teherani Architects from the Best Hospitality, Tourism & Leisure Project category. And the Lyf one-north Singapore in the Best Residential Project category. The Ellikon Commercial Hub in the Best New Mega Development category also looked amazing. So, I had more than one favourite in the Awards. It was a great show as usual.

Ing. arch. Oleg Haman, President of the Community of Architects, CEO and co-founder of the architectural and design office CASUA

  1. The theme of this year’s MIPIM was resilient and sustainable cities. The exhibition of the Middle East countries corresponded with this perfectly. The cities presented were completely new and situated in the wild or in the desert. From architectural point of view, these were mainly the works of large, renowned London studios.
  2. Personally, I did not notice the theme of AI in architecture at MIPIM. But that does not mean it wasn’t there.
  3. MIPIM presentations – especially those given by former politicians – are really very inspiring. I was planning to go to the presentation of the former Prime Minister of Finland, but it didn’t coincide with the cocktail party we were hosting.
  4. This year, I registered four of them – Royal Belge in Brussels, Esbjerg Maritime Centre in Denmark, Atmosphere by Krallerhof in Leogang, Austria, and Living Places in Copenhagen.

Michal Hink, lawyer, Partner at DLA Piper Prague LLP

  1. Considering that I deal with the topic of rental housing (Built to Rent/PRS project) a lot, I’ve noticed that this topic resonated at MIPIM quite frequently. For one thing, our office dealt with it, and we also saw that our clients were interested in both these projects and investments in this segment.
  2. Personally, I didn’t notice the AI theme much at the fair. I probably just didn’t follow it much nor searched for it in the individual discussion meetings.
  3. This year, I did not pay much attention to the presentations held at the fair, but rather to personal meetings and meetings with specific clients, which means that my input in this area wouldn’t be too relevant.
  4. Projects that captured my attention from among the MIPIM AWARDS finalists this year were the Trojena Ski Village project in the Best new Mega Development category and the Elektrownia Powisłe project in the Best Urban Regeneration category.

Milan Stříteský, CEO, Business Network CZ s.r.o., Official Sales Representatives of RX France for MIPIM, MAPIC, MIPIM ASIA for CR & SR

  1. This year’s MIPIM has been the crucial event for the international real estate community. The 2024 edition is taking place at a time of global political and economic uncertainty, the ongoing urgency to address climate change, and crucial challenges facing key real estate sectors such as commercial and residential property. And MIPIM aims to help the global community discover solutions to long-term structural challenges through high-level networking and discussions. More than 200 delegates from the Czech Republic and Slovakia participated in the MIPIM trade fair. In addition to the traditional presence of companies like CTP Invest, new exhibitors such as CRESTYL GROUP and 2N showcased their products and services. The event also featured representation from several hundred companies within the real estate business sector in the Czech and Slovak markets. This year we have collaborated again with ULI, WBCSD, IIGCC, and World Green Building Council to find international solutions through variety of MIPIM conference and networking programs, which includes high-profile businesses such as Bouygues & Schneider. As an event, MIPIM also has its own role to play. 2024 was our most sustainable exhibition to date, distinguished by four commitments: making MIPIM cleaner, greener, and more diverse, and increasing our positive social impact. This year the residential sector which is actively seeking new models to meet the market demand, from rental to ownership and other life-cycle transitions has been one of the key topics discussed at MIPIM during ‘Housing Matters!’, the new half day conference launched in pre-opening of MIPIM. The event brough together investors, developers, local authorities, associations, and urban experts, exploring solutions to the rising housing demands, soaring prices and housing inequality and sharing visions of a sustainable housing future. Finally, understanding the vital role of fresh perspectives and leading industry voices in transforming the real estate sector, we launched the MIPIM Challengers program this year. This innovative initiative is designed to offer 16 young built environment professionals from around the globe the chance to showcase their ideas at MIPIM. We received an overwhelming response, with over 150 essays submitted from 20 different countries. While the majority of entries originated from Western Europe, our final selection is diverse, featuring participants from further afield, including Mauritius, South Africa, and the USA. This mix underscores our commitment to bringing together a wide range of insights and experiences to drive forward-thinking change in the real estate industry.
  2. We suggest you to have a look to the RIBA Artificial Intelligence Report discussed at MIPIM and which revealed that 41% of architects are now using AI and 43% of those architects believe it has improved the efficiency of their design process. IA has been a hot topic discussed several times during the event (e.g. Sanna Marin, and a dedicated session ‘AI and real estate: How can it be used properly, what are the implications, how revolutionary will it be?’ has been organized in the MIPIM Official programme.
  3. Please read our final release mentioning conversations at MIPIM regarding new areas of opportunity and optimism.
  4. The MIPIM Awards showcase the world’s most sustainable and visionary projects since 1991. This year, 209 projects of completed or yet to be built projects from 39 countries have been submitted for the globally renowned real estate competition. The six key criteria are overall sustainability, integration of the project in its environment and community, quality of the user experience, economic contribution, originality of the concept, and architectural qualities. The winners were selected by both the jury’s and MIPIM registered delegates’ votes, cast online and on site.

Lenka Kostrounová, Real Estate Finance Manager at ČSOB

I would summarize the impressions regardless of the questions, because I had slightly different priorities at MIPIM. Overall, I would like to summarize my impressions from this year’s MIPIM: As always, it was a great pleasure to meet the important European players from the field of development and investment, to exchange opinions and share experiences. Otherwise, this year’s fair resonated with topics such as rental and social housing as well as cohabitation. It is evident that the lack of apartments is not only a problem in the Czech Republic, but also in a large part of Europe. Another key theme of the fair was ESG and AI in real estate. These topics are becoming more and more important and it is great to find out during mutual discussions with the others and the participants how one or the other understands this topic and how far along they are with their implementation. As for the ESG, there is nothing precisely lined up apart from the basic facts, such as the obligations to reduce the carbon footprint or reporting rules. It is up to each country/company to find a way as to how to achieve the goal. I am glad that ČSOB pays a lot of attention to the topic and is one of the active members of the Council for Sustainable Buildings.

With regard to the receding inflation and the fact that interest rates in euros are unlikely to rise any more (they are even falling in CZK), the mood among the participants seemed significantly more optimistic than in the previous year. However, the same cannot be said in the case of German visitors, because inflation, rising rates and the impact on valuations there were often very dramatic. Anyone interested in the real estate world took part in the event, even though the ticket price of more than EUR 2,000 has a big impact on companies’ budgets.

I was very surprised by the non-participation of the representatives of the Czech public and state administration. It was the first time since I have been going to MIPIM, which is over 15 years, that there was no stand of Czech cities. I do not share the opinion that we Czechs can meet at home. After all, it is about showing the world/Europe what construction is being planned in our country, what has already turned out well and why, who is active on the market. I only met the representatives of Ostrava (Hana Tichánková, Deputy Mayor for strategic development, and her colleagues Jiří Hudec, Ondřej Vysloužil and Adéla Koudelová), who were there this year as visitors, not exhibitors. Many thanks for their interest – Ostrava is a dynamically developing city and the fact that they actively participate in the fair every year, perceive European trends and try to adapt to them, clearly contributes to their PR among both investors and developers. The complete opposite of the Czech approach was Poland and their cities, which did everything for being marketed at MIPIM in order to making their projects (and participant) visible.

Zuzana Chudoba, Managing Director, BTR Consulting s.r.o.

I will not answer the individual questions, but I will summarize my remarks: The entire MIPIM trade fair was intertwined by the theme of housing. That is, in any form – student, long-term, short-term, co-living, senior. It is obvious that demographic and economic development, plus housing needs, not only in Europe, have exceeded the offer, to which we now respond with a delay. Which is emphasised by the sub-theme of MIPIM, Housing matters! Overall, I felt a positive mood in the area of investment in the housing sector, which will certainly be supported this year by falling interest rates and greater confidence in all markets. And also, the lack of housing or accommodation capacities and a certain increase in prices in this area.

It is a shame that the Czech Republic, nota bene Prague, which has been dealing with the lack of housing supply in various forms of housing for a long time, did not participate in this important European event, and thus showed, in my opinion, that they are not interested in cooperation with foreign investors, who could certainly help to partly solve the current problem with their investments.

In general, one could feel that the participation at MIPIM was lower than in previous years. Which is certainly connected with the constantly tense situation in the area of available resources and the willingness to invest. However, according to the opinions of various investment groups, it seems that the market could pick up this year and as of the second half of the year, we will – hopefully – see more transactions compared to the previous year throughout Europe. The approach of countries such as MIPIM’s main partner – Saudi Arabia or Oman – is very interesting. Both countries presented not only very interesting large-scale projects in their capital cities, but also the ability to permit the newly emerging districts and start construction in a record time compared to the Czech Republic (maximum of two years), as well as the commitment to build and complete them and also to improve the overall living comfort in their specific climatic conditions. Overall, I would say that the mood was positive with an even more positive outlook for the future.

  • Best cultural, sports & education project: Esbjerg Maritime Center, Esbjerg, Denmark

The traditional top of MIPIM’s events was the final ceremony of the MIPIM Awards’ announcement at the final gala evening in the Palais de Festivals in Cannes.

The winners are:

  • Best conversion project: Royale Belge, Brussels, Belgium
  • Best cultural, sports & education project: Esbjerg Maritime Center, Esbjerg, Denmark
  • Best hospitality, tourism & leisure project: ATMOSPHERE by Krallerhof, Leogang, Austria
  • Best industrial & logistics project: ESR Higashi Ogishima Distribution Centre, Kawasaki, Japan
  • Best mixed-use project: Royale Belge, Brussels, Belgium
  • Best office & business project: St. John’s Terminal, New York, United States
  • Best residential project: Living Places Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Best urban regeneration project: BASSIN 7, Aarhus, Denmark
  • Best new development: Casa BFF, Milan, Italy
  • Best new mega development: The Ellinikon Commercial Hub, Metropolitan Pole of Hellinikon, Athens, Greece
  • Special jury awards: ESR Higashi Ogishima Distribution Centre, Kawasaki, Japan
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