So as the dust settles on another MIPIM, what messages did it send out?
On the whole, I would say positive ones. Attendances were up 5-10%, (despite a couple of high profile no-shows!) and the mood more upbeat, with even Dr Nouriel Roubini finding some “upside risks” to discuss in his keynote speech on the global economy.
Roubini is not alone in asking whether the mood was one of glass half full or glass half empty but as my 10 year old son pointed out to me, the real question is not whether it is half full or half empty, but what is it full of!? This would be a worthwhile point to have put to the MIPIM crowds as they talked of “increased activity” and “brightening” outlooks. What are they full of? Hope, proof, bluster or too much rosé?!
A shortage of stock and debt finance may well hold back the investment market despite rising demand but the analysis in our Global Investment Atlas, released at MIPIM, is more hopeful, pointing to a 5-10% increase in trading activity this year and the same in prime rents as occupier markets stir.
A lot of global gateway cities are already reporting falling availability and at least a stabilisation in rents, with many seeing growth returning, notably emerging markets in Asia and Latin America but also in Europe, with Russia leading the way.
What is more, while 2011 has started slowly in some areas of EMEA and the UK mood is perhaps more circumspect than some others, tenant demand for quality, well-priced space in all sectors has shown either resilience or growth. Indeed, while occupiers and investors should be aware that the recovery will be neither smooth nor evenly spread, it is still a recovery and it is happening!
David Hutchings, European Research Group, London