MIPIM 2019 – It’s time for the UK to show what we’ve got
This year’s MIPIM is significant in several ways; not only does the world’s most famous property event celebrate its 30th birthday, but the expo will take place just weeks before the UK’s possible exit from the European Union. Brexit will no doubt be shaping many of the conversations in the exhibition halls of the Palais and in restaurants and bars along La Croisette: deal or no deal? What lies ahead?
However, the UK delegation should aim to avoid being drawn into political speculation and instead seize the opportunity to celebrate what our real estate sector has to offer. Despite the B-word causing some hesitation and uncertainty in the market, the UK’s real estate fundamentals are still strong and international investors are – by and large – still attracted to opportunities we have on offer. In many peoples’ eyes, the UK will remain a safe bet in the long term, even if some investors do hold back a little in the hope of a drop in the value of sterling.
The theme of this year’s event is ‘Engaging the Future’, which feels like a suitably optimistic tonic for some of the pan-European doom and gloom. Across sectors, we’re seeing unprecedented changes in the way that technology influences our society, the way we work and the way we live – real estate is intrinsically caught up in that.
Smart buildings and smart cities are very much a pillar of the UK’s real estate sector. For example, Birmingham has been announced as the country’s 5G testbed and artificial intelligence is being used in more creative ways than ever before to manage real estate portfolios, providing accurate and up-to-date information to investors and managers. These topics will no doubt form the basis of many of this year’s talks and conversations.
There are certainly interesting times ahead in terms of the ways tenants and occupiers engage with buildings, in large part influenced by technology. Shopping habits are changing, property ownership models are shifting, with build-to-rent coming to the fore and the lines blurring between traditional classes of residential and commercial development.
Many of these changes so far have focused on younger people, but gradually the requirements of an ageing population are being thrown into the mix. In the UK there is much work to be done in this regard and especially in later living terms, the country lags behind other more forward-thinking nations.
The idea of inclusive growth is integral to real estate’s future and there is a widespread concerted effort to build for the many, not for the few – everyone should benefit. Increasingly, real estate developers and investors are measuring the wider impact of their schemes on society and the climate, as well as on their returns. This increased consciousness can only be a positive thing and the more people realise that simply building a building is not enough, the better our towns and cities will become.
For real estate professionals, the future looks both exciting and challenging. A greater scrutiny from stakeholders in the public, private and political domains will push increasing numbers of developments in the right direction. MIPIM is the perfect place for innovation to flourish and for likeminded groups to meet and plan for a bright and exciting future of real estate.
Simon Stanion is head of our planning team and will be attending MIPIM 2019. Our other delegates include Alex Smith, Brendan Walsh and Simon Robinson. If you would like to arrange a meeting, please get in touch.