Cannes, 18 March 2016 – The 27th edition of MIPIM saw real estate executives and investors expressing a mixture of optimism and caution over the state of the global market, adding that while there are variations by territory and asset sector, the overall picture for 2016 is positive.

One of the most striking aspects of this year’s MIPIM was the plethora of senior politicians in Cannes, including French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron who inaugurated the event.

Bringing together the largest single gathering of international investors (over 4,800), alongside developers, end-users, architects, hotel groups, public authorities, tech specialists, startups and property associations, MIPIM underlined its credentials as a unique opportunity to conduct business, network and discuss the major issues facing both urban and real estate leaders.

“This year, I believe our in-depth, tailor-made approach to servicing the wide range of asset classes that make up today’s real estate industry and the important discussions on ‘Housing the World,’ mean that MIPIM 2016 is more inclusive than ever,” noted Filippo Rean, Director of Reed MIDEM’s Real Estate Division.

MIPIM 2016 attendance rose 10% compared to 2015, as some 23,500 senior real estate executives, urban leaders and politicians from around 90 countries met in Cannes at the world’s leading real estate conference, networking and deal-making event.

Many cities and communes at MIPIM chose a more joined-up marketing approach to attract inward investment.

For the first time at MIPIM, all of the Ile-de-France exhibitors in the Paris Region pavilion were federated around a single project, the Grand Paris Express, rather than individual, largely un-related schemes.

The importance of political backing for urban regeneration and its impact on national economies was emphasized as French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron told MIPIM delegates, “We have a series of great new projects.” He urged investors to “invest in this country.”

Launched in 2007, the €32bn Grand Paris Express includes building 200km of new rail and metro lines as well as 68 new train stations. The French Economy Minister gave details of the Grand Paris Hubs programme involving 14 major urban development schemes outside Paris. The programme calls for public/private sector projects to be pitched to a selection panel that will decide which developments go forward for delivery between 2022 and 2024.

Emmanuel Macron’s enthusiasm for the Grand Paris project was reiterated by other senior French politicians at MIPIM including Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo, as well as former Budget Minister and current President of the Ile-de-France’s Regional Council, Valérie Pécresse.

Anne Hidalgo told MIPIM delegates that the city’s bid to host the 2024 Olympic Games would meet the Olympics Committee’s bid criteria to leave a lasting urban regeneration impact including transforming the Olympic Village into a new residential neighbourhood.

In the UK, cities teaming up to promote themselves is fast becoming the norm. Leading the way is the Northern Powerhouse ‘alliance’ of Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield and Newcastle. This week saw the launch of Midlands Engine’s regeneration opportunities pitchbook.

Created in December 2015, the Midlands Engine brings together 11 Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) to develop the region and attract inward investment. Speaking to a packed MIPIM auditorium, Andy Street, Chair, Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership noted, “We have never had collaboration across the Midlands on this scale.” The pitchbook contains 33 projects (three from each of the 11 LEPs), worth a combined £14.4bn.

Major new pavilions were on show from St Petersburg and Dubai-based developer Nakheel. Spearheaded by Istanbul, Turkey sent its largest delegation ever to MIPIM totaling 250 companies and cities. Meanwhile MIPIM welcomed China’s largest commercial developer Dalian Wanda Commercial Properties, as a first time attendee. Over the past two years Wanda has been expanding its international business with projects under way in the UK, the US and Australia.

Reflecting a strong US real estate market, the National Association of Realtors’ Pavilion hosted a wide range of major projects coming from states and cities. Among them, Arizona’s Scottsdale Area Association of Realtors presented the Douglas Ranch/Trillium and The Villages at Vigneto schemes. Over on the US Economic Development Pavilion, the Great Houston Partnership was drawing attention to the Goodman Global Group’s consolidated campus.

Among leading politicians attending MIPIM were Poland’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economic Development Mateusz Morawiecki; Etienne Schneider, Luxembourg’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Economy; Mikhail Men, Russian Minister of Housing, Construction and Utilities, Roberta Pinotti, Italian Defence Minister and Fatma Güldemet Sari, Turkish Minister of Environment and Urban Planning.

And a host of city mayors and CEOs were in Cannes to discuss urban development from the likes of Paris, Istanbul, Turin, Riga, Lyon, Malmö, Manchester, Liverpool, Maricá, Stockholm, Copenhagen and Moscow. Cities making a first-time appearance at MIPIM included Casablanca (Morocco), Belfast (Northern Ireland), Newcastle (UK), Bologna (Italy), Chicago, Houston, Birmingham and Alburquerque (all US).

With the United Nations reporting that over 50% of the world’s population now lives in cities and annual urban growth running at 1.83%, there is an increasing need for concerted urban strategies that will help cities handle the situation. To facilitate discussion on new urban policy, MIPIM chose ‘Housing the World’ as its central theme and the subject of the annual Mayors’ Think Tank Summit.

The Mayors’ Think Tank welcomed some 100 city leaders for high-level discussions. Mayors expressed their desire for the real estate industry to share its vision of cities that create liveable spaces for all and particularly to work together with public partners to provide affordable housing.

“One of the key questions addressed by city representatives and real estate executives this week was how urban leaders can deliver successful densification policies to meet the world’s continuing urbanization,” noted Reed MIDEM’s Filippo Rean.

“With a shortage of residential housing in many of Europe’s urban centres, there is a need for increased collaboration between public and private players in all phases of urban development, from planning to delivery of urban assets. Architects have a central role to play in future urban development and with just under 2,000 here in Cannes, their numbers continue to grow at MIPIM,” added Rean.

It was clear in Cannes that international real estate investors are diversifying their portfolios to include such ‘alternative’ investments as healthcare, student housing, hotels, residential rental and retirement homes.

Among the asset classes that substantially increased their ‘footprint’ in the MIPIM halls this year, Healthcare, Logistics and Hotel & Tourism came together in an enlarged pavilion and the 1,800m² Innovation Forum showcased the latest tech projects and companies offering solutions and practices to increase the value of property assets.

The explosion of e-commerce is accelerating the emergence of what were once described rather dismissively as ‘sheds.’ These have become one of the hottest assets in real estate as demand for logistics grows and warehouse returns have been out-performing some office portfolios since the recession.

As MIPIM progressed, the traditional flood of real estate market research and surveys began to circulate. At the closed-door MIPIM RE-Invest Summit – which brought together 53 institutional investors representing over €500 billion in property investment – Real Capital Analytics reported that commercial property transactions in 2015 totaled $1.3 trillion, up 5% on 2014.

Real Capital Analytics noted that while investment in Asia has slowed, there has been a surge in the US and a strengthening in the European marketplace. In the emerging asset classes, investment in Europe’s rental apartment sector grew 15% last year and there was growth across senior housing and student housing. But it was hotel investment that saw the strongest growth of 31% compared to 2014.

Just how fast the investment environment is changing was underlined by the fact that the MIPIM RE-Invest Summit started off with a keynote address on “Crowdfunding: How does it impact real estate and finance?”, by Dan Miller, Founder of Myrtle Grove Ventures.

Miller, who came to prominence as Founder of Fundrise, told investors that they need to embrace and adapt to the opportunities presented by crowdfunding. “Within three to five years crowdfunding will be at a scale where it will be competing with institutional investors and those working with the trend will be in the best shape,” he said.

Following last year’s MIPIM theme of ‘Digital Revolution,’ MIPIM 2016 boosted its focus on innovation in real estate and launched the first Startup Competition devoted to real estate tech and sponsored by BNP Paribas Real Estate.

After selection rounds at MIPIM UK in London and MIPIM Asia in Hong Kong last year, the last two MIPIM Startup Competition finalists were chosen in Cannes. Paris-based logistics disruptor Urbismart scored a double whammy by winning the competition and the MIPIM delegates Coup de Coeur vote. Urbismart CEO Jean Paul Rival pitched his company as a game-changer saying it would revolutionise the supply chain by improving home and business delivery while reducing urban congestion involving delivery trucks.

Smart city case studies were presented by the likes of Barcelona, Gothenburg, Edmonton and Grenoble, while sustainable urban living champions, Urban Farmers, made their first appearance at the world’s real estate market.

In the Innovation Forum, delegates enthused about Schindler’s myPORT transit management app. The mobile app-controlled system recognises users as they enter a building, calls a lift for them and once they have reached their floor, opens their office or apartment door. According to Schindler Senior VP Michael Dobler, “myPORT allows seamless movement in a building without having different badges and keys."

An important new initiative, supported by REWIRE (Recognising and Empowering Women in Real Estate), Italy’s AREL (Associazione Real Estate Ladies), Women in Real Estate Poland, Women in Real Estate Spain and World Women in Real Estate, was launched at this year’s MIPIM with the first networking event for women working in real estate, attended by 100 influential women in real estate. “We are delighted that the first women’s event has taken place at MIPIM to recognise the role of women in the property industry,” commented Sue Brown Co-Founder of REWIRE.