Tim Darwall-Smith, Director, SBA Property Management
MIPIM is the must-go-to annual event for real estate professionals around the world. This year, the event was all about pushing forward stronger businesses – and the role of places and innovative leadership in driving that change.
Property professionals gathered in Cannes from 14-17 March to hear from sector leaders about the importance of coming together to create better places that have a greater impact on the people within them.
For many, this was their first event back in France since 2019, so there was plenty to discuss – the built environment’s impact on the broader economy was a key focal point, with conferences ranging from sustainable building practices to adapting cities for heat waves.
So, what exactly was on the agenda, and what can property managers take away from the discussions?
Perhaps coming as no surprise, ESG took ‘centre stage’ this year. With the launch of a dedicated ‘Road to Zero’ area at the festival and the signing of the ‘Road to Zero Alliance’, it’s clear that the sector has decarbonisation at the top of its agenda in line with targets set by governments across the globe.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has set a target for London to be net zero carbon by 2030. Therefore, UK-focused discussions at MIPIM looked to establish what must be done in the real estate industry to achieve this and what green investment opportunities are available in London.
Green investing seeks opportunities that also benefit the natural environment – an approach mainly focused on renewable energy technologies. As the sector continues to embed ESG into its ways of working, property managers need to consider how they might support their leaseholders in integrating green solutions in the home.
Working in partnership with B Corp accredited organisations and innovative solutions providers, property managers can add real value to their operations by implementing sustainable technologies in the home – such as a smart meter or a renewable electricity supply (for example, solar, biomass or wind power).
Going hand in hand with conversations around ESG was how sustainability-related projects are financed. On the ‘Make It Happen’ stage, key talking points revolved around investment for Impact projects and realising affordable, sustainable housing.
With an impending recession in the UK, the market is unstable. Many in the sector have expressed concerns over how they can save costs while improving their offering and sustainability credentials.
That’s why it is so important that property managers work with their leaseholders to implement processes to future-proof their properties sooner rather than later. For example, integrating automated systems to monitor repairs and faults within buildings will help lessen the impact of rising inflation on areas such as maintenance and wage costs.
But the news isn’t all bad for property managers, as with the rental market continuing to boom post-covid, there are plenty of new acquisition opportunities in high-growth areas.
As demand in the rental market continues to grow in London and cities across the UK, the sector is evolving through innovative approaches. At MIPIM, this was recognised with the first-ever Co-Liv summit to celebrate and drive innovation in the co-living sector in partnership with Co-Liv – the leading global association of co-living professionals.
Co-living is a concept rising in popularity, offering more affordable and accessible living options to help address systemic inequalities in the residential market. It provides an alternative way of living, catering for hybrid working needs with collaborative shared spaces. Many also include bills at a fixed rate – an attractive feature for the next generation of renters.
With this in mind, co-living is a good investment for property managers looking to acquire in the next few years, with the market poised for growth – especially in London, where 22% of the core target market for co-living in the UK is located. These developments can also be more cost-effective, with digital technologies integrated within the building, saving property managers the cost of installing it themselves.
Property managers must stay ahead of trends and sector news in 2023 to ensure their investments are well-placed and maintain a high-quality, cost-effective offering for leaseholders and tenants.