Friday Letter Let the party begin

There is a lot to look forward to at this year’s MIPIM conference – including a renewed sense of enthusiasm. 

Next week, MIPIM will be holding its annual real estate conference in Cannes, France, and there is a sense of renewed enthusiasm among the many and varied attendees at this year’s event.

After all, the global property markets have shown some improvement over the past year, a number of distressed entities have exited the market, other firms have been stabilised and new players have begun to sprout up from the ashes. The question is whether that enthusiasm will be validated by those at the conference.

Looking at the numbers attending this year’s MIPIM conference provides one easy gauge of sentiment. With more than 18,000 expected this year – pretty much the same as last year – that suggests the market has stabilised but flush times still may be a way off.

Those investors in attendance will once again be talking to prospective fund managers, who will be promoting their ideas for the next generation of real estate funds. These new funds will look to address the problems of their predecessors, which were launched during the boom but fell upon hard times in the years immediately after the financial crisis.

Many fund managers also will be wondering about the changing landscape in the wake of the takeover of ING Real Estate Investment Management by CBRE Investors, which is set to create a $96 billion private equity real estate powerhouse. They will be seeking answers to how that union will affect their ability to raise fresh capital and attract new investors.

The event will showcase many presentations, panels and official get-togethers, but the true test of sentiment will be in the conversations at the parties after the sun has set.

From cocktails with RREEF aboard the Motor Yacht Alaska and a beach party at C Beach sponsored by Cushman & Wakefield to drinks with Eurohypo at the InterContinental Carlton’s private beach and sunset canapés aboard AEW’s catamaran, it certainly appears the number of social invites is back on the rise. These mixers may not be as extravagant as the parties hosted during the boom, but there still will be plenty of cocktails over which to compare wounds from the financial crisis and form new alliances for the future.

Still, if you are not attending MIPIM this year, don’t worry. PERE has your back, with plans for news briefs and coverage from the event each day, as well as plans for a substantial post-mortem of the week.

However, if you are one of the roughly 18,000 official (or umpteen thousand unofficial) delegates planning to attend, then we hope you have a productive week at MIPIM.

And if you happen to see myself, Jonathan Brasse or Robin Marriott wandering about the conference halls or socialising at an evening cocktail party, please do come up to us and say hello. We always welcome the opportunity to meet our loyal readers.

See you in Cannes!