Cash landing

Cautious optimism was the predominant theme at a more subdued Mipim this year, with lawyers intent on wooing the few cash-rich players

Simon Cookson, London real estate head, DLA Piper

Although this Mipim saw fewer attendees than previous years, that did nothing to dampen people’s appetite to explore opportunities.

There was a businesslike approach and no real sense of the exuberance of the past. Although I did not see many people who thought that 2012 would be better than 2011, there was a massive desire to just get on and do business.

It is now clear that, whatever phase of the financial crisis we are in, it is the ’new normal’ and most expected that as they left Mipim they would be back into a challenging environment without a market-improving change in the near future.

The chat among the Americans I spoke to was that they were encouraged by how things were going back home and, interestingly, it seems that a lot of US money is looking to find a home in Europe.

There were a lot of US investors at Mipim looking to invest at the slightly riskier end of the market, which was encouraging. I also noticed a lot of debt funds, private equity firms and sovereign wealth looking to invest amid a flight to quality and better yields further out, with a slew of poor-quality assets over the horizon.

Down to business

Every year the real estate industry gathers in Cannes for the Mipim conference – thousands of property professionals networking and marketing their business. Post-recession, real estate lawyers report that the event was more sober and business-focused than ever.