I am writing this month's Brexit Blog at MIPIM, the annual international property conference. The bill to leave received Royal Assent during the week with ironic timing. MIPIM is a good opportunity to find out about the real drivers of the property market and study changes post referendum.
As architects, we usually are blissfully unaware of where the money comes from to fund some of our projects. I for one was surprised to find in 2008 that our banks had been lending huge amounts to fuel Dubai’s growth. I had always assumed they were using their own money, but why would they? I was seated at a lunch next to a Build-to-Rent developer whose money, about £1bn, comes mainly from an American Pension Fund, and he, along with many others, were bullish about this investment continuing post Brexit.
There are conflicting trends though. In 2016, there has been 50% drop in investment from USA down to 6.6bn and a 37% drop from Canada down to 2bn. Conversely, Germany’s investment in UK property is up 65% to 1.7bn, and Australia’s up a massive 90%, although only 0.5bn but still similar to UAE.
What was noticeable at MIPIM was a blatant but understandable attempt by Berlin, and particularly Paris, to attract businesses from London. The latter has a crass slogan which I can’t bring myself to type but include a photo (ironically on a deck chair)
If I were a fund manager, I might prefer the occasional fog.
The other change at MIPIM was a positive concerted effort by DTI to promote UK regions with towns and cities like Leicester, Nottingham, and Derby acting in unison to attract investment in new industries and businesses. Better infrastructure and HS2 connectivity will drive these opportunities, and the attempt is to be applauded. Maybe if it had happened sooner, these towns and cities along with others promoted at MIPIM would not have voted for Brexit in last July.
Chris formed Weston Williamson with Andrew Weston in 1985 having previously worked in New York with Welton Becket and with Sir Michael Hopkins in London. Chris has taught at the DeMontford University and at the University of North London. Chris is currently a visiting professor at East London ...