What a difference a year makes

Real estate professionals gathering in Munich for Expo Real will have much to discuss to understand today’s complex operating environment.

Anecdotally, many real estate executives opted for an early summer break this year in order to come back with fresh ideas in the autumn and a better understanding of the complex trading environment.

But as industry professionals greet one another at Expo Real – where many of you will be reading this for the first time – there is clearly still much to discuss. We hope to offer some essential insights in this edition of PropertyEU, whilst also trusting that trade fair dialogue helps unravel the investment climate’s ongoing Gordian knot.

The apocryphal curse – may you live in interesting times – has never been more appropriate.

While the industry grapples with a difficult macro-economic outlook, geopolitical factors are upstaging the usual drivers, from war in Ukraine, to leadership changes – most recently, in Italy, Sweden and the UK.

The days when real estate deals in Europe were a purely economic equation seem long gone. So, what light can we shed on the debate?

No autumn issue would be complete without a back to the office review, although ours is less about the post-summer catch up, and more about investors seeking clarity as dealmaking stalls. Shiraz Jiwa, founder and CEO of UK and European real estate investment firm, The Valesco Group, suggests that price dislocations may still result in rich pickings.

Another timely feature, on student accommodation, spotlights the counter-cyclical appeal of this specialist opportunity from the point of view of three different firms. We ask Antwerp-headquartered Xior about its takeover of European peer, Basecamp, as well as checking in with the student strategy of LaSalle Investment Management and Round Hill Capital.

Although deal flows appear a little subdued looking ahead, the same can’t be said of last year, as evinced by our Top 100 Investors ranking in this issue which gives a great overview of Europe’s big spenders, listed in order of assets under management (AUM).

Total AUM volumes in our ranking exceeded €2 tln in 2021, representing a year-on-year increase of 17.7%. The second half of last year combined an unexpectedly fast revival in market activity, driven by yet another year of historically low interest rates, relatively cheap debt and bags of pent-up investment capital. In this 2022 full of twists and turns, the data – and the investment climate that was – spark a pang of nostalgia.


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