International real estate faces future at MIPIM (FR)

The international real estate industry will gather in Cannes, March 10-13, for what promises to be the most important MIPIM in the event's 20 year history, according to leading property executives, who expect to use the event to kick-start new real estate projects and initiatives.

With the €15 trillion international property industry feeling the effects of the on-going global economic downturn, MIPIM 2009 will bring together all the major sectors involved in real estate from over 80 countries and one of the key questions that will be asked is whether real estate remains high on the investment sector's priorities?

While it is well documented that property values are challenged, with yields widening on both prime and secondary property, over the past year there has been ever greater recognition that the asset remains a tradable commodity, allowing corporations in all sectors of the global economy to potentially reshape their balance sheets.

And in 2009, the international investment community has reiterated its commitment to real estate. To date, over 1,170 delegates from 383 major investment companies such as Deka Immobilien, CB Richard Ellis Investors, Evans Randall, GIC Real Estate, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Pramerica RE Investors and Unibail Rodamco, have already registered for MIPIM.

"MIPIM provides an opportunity for global investors such as GIC RE to meet important counterparts from across Europe and beyond, in one place and over a concentrated few days. This makes efficient use of my time," says Chris Morrish, Managing Director GIC and Regional Head, Europe, GIC Real Estate.

"Notwithstanding the constraints the investment market is learning to live with, MIPIM will allow us all to assess appetite and value levels within the market. In the past, and at its best, MIPIM has encouraged and enabled the development of new financial techniques, structures and partnerships, taking advantage of the different characteristics of particular markets and territories. We will all be working harder this year and MIPIM can play a vital role, as it has done historically, in helping the sector address this very demanding but nevertheless exciting market," comments Mike Evans, Chairman and Chief Executive, Evans Randall.

"Our expectations are that the important players in the international investment and development community will use MIPIM to kick-start their activities. It will take time to reclaim the ground that has been lost as a consequence of the turmoil in the financial system, but if high-calibre and accessible players return to MIPIM 2009, we can, as an industry community, start to sketch out the road map to recovery based on the investment deals re-emerging in the market," adds Stephen Hubbard, Deputy Chairman, CB Richard Ellis.

In the run-up to MIPIM 2009, senior investment executives confirmed that the real estate sector remains a valuable element of an overall portfolio. Robert Falzon, CEO, Pramerica Real Estate Investors, Europe says: "These are certainly challenging times. And it's exactly at such times that information is crucial and it is important to meet, communicate and exchange views with fellow real estate investors and operators. Furthermore, for the medium to long-term, real estate remains an important asset class for investors. Even today, the declining value of property in certain sectors and in certain territories means there will be interesting investment opportunities for those with the foresight and courage to seize them."

With delegations from Moscow, Paris, London, Manchester, Berlin, Brussels, Madrid, Oslo and Toronto all attending MIPIM 2009, city administrators remain firmly committed to promoting their cities on the international scene, as well as taking advantage of the MIPIM Mayor's Summit to discuss policies to improve the urban environment and the difficulty of developing sustainable development strategies.

"Maintaining or regenerating the economic life of international cities is dependent on the vital role that real estate can play in broader economic developm

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