Our Expo team, Danielle and Debbie, where on the ground throughout the conference. Here, they have set out some of the key findings, themes and things to watch.

  • The EXPO REAL Barometer of Opinion revealed that 14% of respondents expect a record year, while 10% said that Brexit is affecting their business. Among the priority issues for European real estate were alignment between the private and public sectors (75%), affordable housing (57%), Interest rate policy (53% see it as a concern), shortage of development space (49%) and climate change (37%)
  • Residential was in the spotlight, particularly the shortage of space and affordable housing in increasingly dense cities. Urbanisation is a challenge, with one in three people predicted to live in cities by 2050, bringing the focus on infrastructure. Micro living was a key theme (with the first developments in Germany) and co-living is also advancing into the mainstream as an asset class
    • Logistics investment was a huge subject, with limited space for new developments in cities to fulfil the growing expectation amongst urban consumers for one day or faster delivery times
  • Technology as a driving force for the future of the property sector figured prominently, with the European proptech market currently thriving. RICS called for the sector to implement common data standards and adopt greater transparency as the way forward
    • Much was said too about cybersecurity now becoming more important for the sector
  • There is significant investor interest in alternative real estate assets, dubbed ‘niches within niches’. Mixed-use assets are emerging as an asset class, with a move towards portfolio diversification and personalisation of spaces (e.g. popularity of co-working will continue). Hospitality is incredibly popular with investors and developers, especially the niche hotel segment
  • Panels also spoke about the need for sustainable and intelligent urban planning to develop ‘smart’ cities and neighbourhoods of the future. There was a call for more collaboration with local authorities, also attributed to industry politicisation (public opposition to developments and landlords)
  • The wider retail sector is struggling in light of growing e-commerce, and landlords are concerned about tenant retention
  • According to PropertyEU’s ‘Top100 Investors’ report, Germany, France and the UK are dominating European investment. North American investors have been less active as many repositioned their portfolios to avoid exposure to economic instabilities (among them Brexit and a slowdown in Italy)
  • The UK pavilion hosted its largest ever delegation. Views were shared that the UK is well-placed even in light of the referendum, given its position as one of the leading global economies. Once a decision is reached on 31 October, investors who adopted a ‘wait and see’ attitude are likely to return to the market
    • Homes England discussed the modernisation of construction methods, and showcased its recent deal with Japan’s biggest housebuilder to deliver thousands of new homes nationwide
  • Much was said on the threat of recession in Germany. However, with some of Europe’s lowest yields, its real estate sector is set to see record transactions this year of over €60bn. September saw the most robust month on record for investment in commercial property. Meanwhile, Leipzig, Nuremberg, Hanover, Dresden and Wiesbaden are the leading B-locations for offices
    • Asset classes that are gaining momentum in Germany include healthcare and more general care real estate (64%), followed by residential, mixed-use and micro living (50%)
    • Colliers International findings show that retailers are demanding more flexible terms and shorter leases (with the exception of luxury retailers and supermarkets)
  • The French market offers steady economic and real estate performance. For occupiers, the shortage of supply remains the key challenge. French investors are increasingly investing across borders (into Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic and Eastern Europe largely)
  • The Dutch market is focusing on cutting out use of family cars (in favour of cycling, shared electric vehicles and public transport network development), and ensuring that no homes are connected to the gas supply by 2050. Holland Metropole stood out as a prime example of collaboration between cities
  • Sweden is poised for another strong year, with YoY real estate transaction volumes up 37% in the first nine months of 2019 (driven by a high number of sales of logistics portfolios and interest from overseas investors). Sweden has lined up €11bn of investments up to 2040, directed at housing and infrastructure
  • The ‘CEE Investment Report: Thriving Metropolitan Cities’ shows that investment in Central and Eastern Europe reached c. €13bn last year, with over €5bn on the office market. The region is seeing an inflow of international capital, with South Korean investors currently most active
    • Warsaw’s R&D strength and highly qualified workforce have positioned the city as one of Europe’s top investment destinations
    • In Romania, the Bucharest Centenary Project aims to revitalise a long-neglected part of the city that offers tremendous investment and development potential
    • For the Czech Republic, the institutional build-to-rent market was cited as a considerable opportunity, attributed to a shortage of residential accommodation and rising house prices
  • European institutional investors are also ramping up their exposure to the Asia-Pacific real estate market, which is growing and undertaking extensive infrastructure development