MIPIM 2010 Blog: Friday 19th March

Hordes of real estate lawyers are in Cannes this week for MIPIM, but what are they really getting up to? Find out in our MIPIM blog all week. Latest: Tim Webb, Shareholder, Greenberg Traurig Maher

9.20: Neil Sagoo, Partner Maples Teesdale

MIPIM is four days of full-on speed-dating for the property market. However one lawyer has been taking this more literally than most and was touting herself to at least one senior fund manager as ‘the tart with a heart’ – allegedly of course. Christine, you know who you are.  Let me know if this presentation style works

Early on I had noticed a disproportionately high number of men, at least in the UK contingent.  But the relative scarcity of ladies was brought home to me when one of my friends told me at the lunch we were hosting that two Dutch delegates had sidled up to her at the Café Roma on the assumption she was a lady from an older profession.  Awkward.

Gossip aside, generally meetings have been very business-like. Delegates are pleased that, unlike in headier times, they have been able to speak to senior people and therefore make the event more effective.

And by all accounts there has been less conspicuous consumption.  Less flashing of the cash.  Wine is the order of the day rather than Champagne. People who might in previous years have stayed at high end accommodation (Martinez £360 pppn not including petit dejeuner) are now staying in more modest apartments or hotels.

Overall the feeling is that MIPIM 2010 has been significantly better attended than 2009 (in terms of both quality and quantity) and that although the rest of the year might be difficult for many, there is still plenty to be positive about in the market.

Click here for Thursday’s Blog

Rhodri Pazzi-Axworthy
Rhodri Pazzi-Axworthy

18.11: Rhodri Pazzi-Axworthy, real estate partner, Nabarro

So it’s all over for another year.  On the Croisette they are dismantling the make-shift beach front restaurants, counting the takings and packing away the branding on the boats and hotels for another year.

As the hoards of property professionals sit in exhausted silence on their return flights reflecting on the past week, what did they make of it?

It certainly felt smaller – most people seemed to agree that there was more room.  The stands at the Palais seemed more spacious somehow and even those parties on boats, where traditionally you have to wait on the quayside for people to leave before you are allowed on, didn’t have the usual queues.  But, it felt more upbeat than last year – and not just because of the effect of the sun and a few beers on the beach (or even BoJo’s “good news sandwich”).

This year people were not just talking about deals, a few even suggested that they may have done some.  The bankers, who if they were here last year kept a low profile, could be seen in strength in the Majestic, at Bar Roma and on their stands, promising to lend again (one even told me that they were keen to get back into development finance as the margins on investment deals were becoming too compressed).

But there’s still a note of caution: more money in the economy is good if there is sufficient stock to satisfy demand. Everyone seemed to agree that demand is once again outstripping supply in the UK prime market and that the London market (at least) is in a bubble.  There is plenty of opinion as to whether and/or when it will bust, although most bets seem to be on sometime after the next election.