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edition 11 (235)
November 2018

Crisis cancelled

The Expo Real International Trade Fair for Commercial Property and Investment

Tomasz Cudowski

Crisis cancelled
Expo Real International Trade Fair for Commercial Property and Investment

Warehouses and apartments for rent as investment products, new sources of capital and the digital revolution in real estate – these were among the themes and buzzwords that dominated the latest Expo Real fair in Munich, which took place over three days in early October. The event was attended by a record number of guests and exhibitors – and Poland played no small part in this

This year, when the Expo Real International Trade Fair for Commercial Property and Investment ended on October 10th, there was nothing but optimism, sometimes bordering on euphoria. “The crisis has been cancelled. There is a lot of money on the market and all investors want to buy. Core real estate is seeing the greatest demand, but investors are increasingly looking at good opportunities in regional cities,” is how Daniel Bienias, the managing director of CBRE, described the mood. “We expect 2019 to be a good time for investors, although I would personally recommend caution when it comes to acquisitions, as usual,” he added.

Capital from countries that are relative newcomers to our markets has also been evident: South Korea, the Philippines, Israel and even Finland. All these investors are interested in Poland and they could become stiff competition for the German funds that have always been the powerful players in our country. “The hottest real estate sector? Without doubt it is warehousing, fuelled by the growth of e-commerce and production,” insisted Daniel Bienias. Robert Dobrzycki, the managing partner of Panattoni Europe, is of a similar opinion: “Investors’ appetites are huge and the funds allocated for warehouses have been record-breaking. The switch of investor interest from retail properties to logistics could already be felt a year ago, but today the phenomenon is absolutely clear,” he insisted.

Other hot investment products include apartments for rent – German investors are interested in projects with yields of below 1.5 pct, but the CEE region has much higher rates on offer. “For this reason we are also developing our Resi4Rent apartments for rent platform in Poland, as it is already operating well in Sweden and we can use our experience from this,” explained Nicklas Lindberg, the CEO of Echo Investment. “However, our philosophy of ‘creating destinations’ envisages the construction not of single buildings or complexes, but entire districts. The effectiveness of this approach can be seen in the huge investor interest for purchasing large packages of apartments for rent,” he revealed.

Another notable theme was the digital transformation and the profound changes this has in store for the real estate sector. Over 60 technology companies turned up to the real estate innovation forum at the fair. Among the topics they discussed were the use of big data in the management of intelligent buildings, the technology for attracting online and offline customers, as well as the digital tools for the hospitality industry and for ‘last mile’ delivery in logistics.

The number of guests and the prestige of the Munich event continues to grow, but the regulars of this event were keen to attest to its growing importance. “Expo Real gives us a unique opportunity to meet our business partners in one place – both our present and future partners,” claimed Jacek Korwin-Małaszyński, a member of the board of APP-Projekt. “The event in Munich is very intensive in terms of business – individual meetings take 20–25 minutes and they follow one after the other, so there is no time to rest,” he added. “I visited the Munich fair twelve years ago, when German cities and banks dominated the exhibitors. Today it’s a global event,” insisted Monika Dębska-Pastakia, a partner and the CEO of Knight Frank in Poland. “The superiority of Munich over Cannes lies mainly in the fact that you always come back with something substantial from Germany. The Cannes fair has a more social character – there are many accompanying events, contacts and friendships, which are also important in our sector. However, it’s in Munich where the deals are struck,” she added. ν
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