Are Central Europe's real estate markets teetering on the edge? The media's non-stop negativity gave way over the summer to positive signs of economic revival, first in Germany and France, where the recession was declared to be over, and then Poland, which confounded the experts by recording 1.1% growth in July.
But that doesn't mean property in CEE is out of the woods yet. Budapest is facing the most serious office vacancy crisis since the 1990s, with supply expected to triple demand in 2009. This is putting serious pressure on rents, pressure that's beginning to be felt in Prague and Warsaw as well. Similar concerns are now being voiced by property experts in retail, as increased unemployment means the weaker shopping malls are having more serious difficulties.
With the financial crisis now entering its third and probably critical year, the tenth annual CEDEM CEE conference is now in the final stages of preparation. Last year, CEDEM took place during the darkest days of the crisis, just hours after the fall of Lehman Brothers and AIG. Today, there are finally the first signs of an economic turnaround, but renewed economic health will not come in time for everyone.
The stage is thus set at the Prague Marriott for an intense two days of trend-setting, no-nonsense discussions on some of the most pressing issues currently facing the region. These include debt resolution, the dormant investment market, rental prospects in the major commercial real estate sectors, the new reality for development finance, and the prospects for distressed asset investment.
Petr Mereko, Deputy Director of Real Estate Finance at Ceská sporitelna, is hopeful. "We are positively encouraged by economic activity in Germany and other countries of interest to our exporters. We believe once confirmed within the next months this activity could help our economy to recover soon, and our real estate market to balance. Let's keep our fingers crossed that our residential and commercial property markets show and upward trend by the beginning of the next year."
Organized by Roberts Publishing Media Group, publisher of the region's premiere property magazine CiJ (Construction & Investment Journal), CEDEM CEE will bring together dozens of top-ranked speakers, and an audience of hundreds of Central Europe's most important market players.
As usual, high level networking will be going on behind the scenes, as the property industry attempts to realign itself to the brave new world of reduced leverage. Plenty of time for socializing and card-swapping has been built into the program, during meals, coffee breaks and the industry's best gala evening of the property calendar.
Èeská spoøitelna is the general partner for CEDEM CEE, while CB Richard Ellis, UniCredit Bank and Wilson & Partners are its partners. Tickets are still available for the event and can be ordered at www.cedem.cz
Source: Best Communications