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Preview: The EXPO REAL 2016 conference program

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Marianne Schulze
Freelance journalist

What has the industry talking?

 

EXPO REAL is renowned for its comprehensive conference program, and the fact that speakers are invited to participate based on their expertise, rather than the sponsorship they bring in, distinguishes it from many other events. Topics tackled will include markets (mainly in the INVESTMENT & LOCATIONS FORUM), individual sectors (in the SPECIAL REAL ESTATE FORUM), and urbanization and projects (in the PLANNING & PARTNERSHIP FORUM), as well as issues which affect the whole industry (in the EXPO REAL FORUM).

 

Has “thinking in cycles” had its day?

 

That is the question to be tackled by the opening rounds under the heading overall economy and real estate: Though economic cycles have long been a defining element within the real estate market, it seems that the cyclical mentality is no more. Instead, it is political and economic uncertainty, as well as significant capital pressure, that dominate the markets. But has “thinking in cycles (really) had its day?” And if so, what are the implications for the real estate industry? The second round of discussions will take a closer look at “international flows of capital”: Their scope and their origin, the direction in which they flow, and which investment opportunities are being sought where.

 

Investment in an age of declining returns

 

This is the ultimate issue, both in terms of content and timing, that will be explored in the second block, Investment: At a time of declining returns and growing purchase prices, it is becoming harder and harder to find profitable investment properties. And this applies just as much to established markets as to emerging markets. What are we to make of this development? How are the big players tackling international real estate? Do bad decisions now carry more risk? What can we do to combat this? And which strategies may pay off in the long term?

 

Increasing flexibility vs. long-term cash flow planning

 

On the third day of the event the spotlight will be put on individual elements of current investment strategies: Alongside geographical diversification, more and more emphasis is being placed on what are referred to as “alternative investments,” such as healthcare real estate, data centers, micro-apartments, co-working stations, parking garages, and the like. At the same time, the focus is shifting onto locations distanced from conventionally sought-after big cities. But what are the criteria that small and medium-sized enterprises need to meet, and what risks does this market present? Another topic currently enjoying widespread discussion among real estate investors, applicable to both office and retail properties, is the trend towards increasingly short lease periods on rental contracts and the ever-increasing expectations of tenants. Companies wish to retain flexibility, which is understandable in the context of the rapid changes to the worlds of work and retail – digitalization is the key word here. This, however, makes long-term cash flow planning for an investment no easy feat.

 

Brexit scenarios beyond speculation and the crystal ball

 

And finally, we could hardly leave out the burning issue: Brexit. Right now, everything is still up in the air and no one really knows what the final result will look like, but the question still remains: What effect will the decision taken by the British population have on the real estate market, both in Britain and across Europe? Perhaps by October, once the initial commotion has died down, industry experts will be able to get a clearer picture of possible scenarios. At the moment, much of what we hear and read still sounds like it has been divined from a crystal ball!

More info about the mentioned events

  • Have we seen the end of cyclical thinking? Tuesday 4.10.2016 / 11:00 – 12:15
  • International capital flows. Tuesday 4.10.2016 / 12:30 – 13:20
  • Yield Compression: falling returns, rising purchase prices. Where are we headed? Tuesday 4.10.2016 / 14:00 – 14:50
  • Alternative Investments, e.g. healthcare properties, data centers, micro-apartments, parking garages. Tuesday 4.10.2016 / 17:00 – 17:50
  • Rental Contracts for Offices and Retail: Shorter terms, but new expectations? Wednesday 5.10.2016 / 16:00 – 16:50
  • Brexit: What’s in after out? Wednesday 5.10.2016 / 17:00 – 17:50

These events all take place in the EXPO REAL FORUM in hall 2A.

 

You can find the current conference program here.

Further information on other parts of the EXPO REAL 2016 conference program, such as logistics and hospitality, will follow shortly.

 

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