EXCLUSIVE BLOG: Moves, changes and service – day two of MIPIM

With the rather interesting welcome party on the evening of the first day behind us, day two of MIPIM – the largest event for the property sector – starts. While sipping my first coffee over breakfast getting ready for the day ahead, I have tried to extract some threads for the day to understand some of the emerging trends and ideas to help my own understanding of the market.

One issue, which came to surface when I tried to make sense of the conference agenda is the move from real estate as a financial asset, to real estate as a product and more significantly, to real estate as a service. It’s a move away from a transactional focus to added value.

As I moved from the thinking over coffee to listening in the various conferences and networking in the various meetings, the conversation matured from product to service at a building level. The conversation also focused on the wider urban level with urbanisation continuing to be a buzz word for the industry.

Continuing from yesterday’s blog, (read here) if we are to compete in an international market, successful communities and cities need to attract the most diverse number of people to collaborate effectively and share resources, whether that is infrastructure, technology, cultural facilities or ideas.

Our buildings, towns and cities need to be living ecosystems that adapt and evolve. This is essential. This did leave me from a conversation which started with product to service, but ended up with the most successful, growing cities embodying a sharing economy. I wonder if the real estate market and MIPIM is maturing rapidly. In the past 10 years we have seen significant technology change, but the level of opportunity hasn’t always been met with an industry that is quick to adopt.

However, as our political landscape is becoming more disruptive, will we also need not to ignore the disruptive trends, as they will become too important to ignore. In the same vein, one of the long-standing mantra that we all standby in the real estate market is the value in bricks, mortar and location. Should we now be talking of or adding to the value of the services, usability, adaptability and service quality of the property. This results in a perception that returns will flow with little need for active interaction between owner/investor and occupier/user. If we get this right, this will this lead to new business models, new structures with multiple layers of investors and outsourced service providers.

As always MIPIM continues to inspire and provoke interesting conversations and debates. We are living in an exciting and fast changing world and events like MIPIM are I believe an essential channel for bringing the industry together to review, reflect, regroup and get ready for the next challenge.

By Martin Townsend, Director of Sustainability at BRE Global