March 2016

MIPIM 2016 Day 1

The Changing Face of London

I started this year's MIPIM by attending the opening session at the London Stand ‘The Changing Face of London’ with an introduction to MIPIM from Sir Eddie Lister, London’s deputy mayor for planning. Sir Eddie announced to a packed crowd that: “London is on the move”. He was discussing the real estate growth in the UK capital since 2008. He went on to say that London is in a world of change and in a completely different situation than eight years ago. He believes the main drivers of this change have been a focus on better governance, improvements to transport and changes to the planning regimen.

These drivers have combined to provide a renewed focus for development and he believes things have changed radically and we are now talking about building on land that was never considered before. He ends with noting that the land is there for development we just need to find a way to bring it forward and make it viable.

Student Housing: A niche with growth potential

Later in the day I got the opportunity to listen in on a talk on student housing and how it has changed from a straightforward asset class to a full serviced accommodation offer. The talk focused in on the way student housing is now having to offer the same level of services as PRS schemes as customer expectations and exceptional facilities become paramount.

I found the talk particularly interesting, as it seems that many student housing operators are now looking at the PRS model and seeing the opportunity for a new asset class. The speakers at the event included Nathan Goddard from, James Lee from Kensington Realty Advisors, Horst Lieder from International Campus AG and Victor Lor from GSA Investment Management.

James Lee argued that in the States the student housing sector is already viewed as asset class and a mature market. The majority of the talk focused in on the provided services and how to market them. James Lee again says that 100% of the marketing of their assets is done through social media and he goes on to mention what he believes the most important service that needs to be provided for students in highs speed internet. Nathan Goddard from believes the market is under supplied and PRS is an attractive model to follow.

My thoughts on the talk were that it was insightful but highlighted the geographical differences when it came to student housing. The U.S is a mature market and a steady investment asset whereas areas in Europe are only now seeing the real need for improved student housing. 

The final statement from the talk was the most interesting of the low and it, again, referenced the PRS sector. “To go forward and compete in the student housing market, developments will need to enter the ‘amenities warfare’ that is currently engulfing PRS.”

London to Cannes 2016

I also got the opportunity to see the cyclists ride in to Cannes in style. Well sort of...