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When the biggest real estate party comes to the French Riviera next month, most real estate agents, investors and dealmakers will stay at home.
Returning to the normal state before the pandemic is a matter of life and death for office owners and salespeople. However, due to travel restrictions and health concerns, most of them are avoiding their glorious annual shindig-Cannes Mipim conference.
Participants described Mipim as the “best place to trade” and the “big buck”. After leading real estate companies opted out, Mipim will operate at a fraction of normal capacity next month.
The conference attracted nearly 27,000 delegates in the last iteration before the coronavirus outbreak in 2019. This year, the organizers postponed the event for six months and halved its length to two days. It is not expected that so many people will attend.
This in turn may hinder the recovery of real estate transactions, and meetings are usually hotbeds for transactions.
“People will lose the opportunity to make a deal. They will stand [local bar] Caffé Roma drinks day after day, hoping they can hear about the sale of a piece of land in Guildford,” said a real estate veteran who has participated in almost every Mipim event since Mipim was founded in 1990.
Real estate agent Savills will not participate this year, and rival CB Richard Ellis will not send representatives from the UK to participate. Knight Frank said, “This year will not participate as before.” The agency intends to send a backbone crew composed of French staff. Colliers said it will send a small number of employees, mainly from France.
In the presence of current and potential customers, the property manager Jones Lang LaSalle stated that it “has many representatives to attend”, adding that “Mipim is still important to us”.
Their absence was a blow to the conference organized by Reed Exhibitions. Organizers expect that there will be 4,000-5,000 delegates in the two-day event. This number was first reported by Property Week.
Ronan Vaspart, director of Mipim, said: “After this period of isolation, this will be a great opportunity for attendees to stand out and gain a head start in networking and rebuilding relationships.”
According to previous attendees, Riviera’s network is usually done manually.
“People work hard there, but they are happy. If you move it to Grimsby, I don’t think you will find so many people there,” said real estate investor Nick Leslaw, who has attended at least 10 times .
According to previous attendees, the meeting was affectionately nicknamed “March’s International Carnival” by some visitors from the UK, and the “lady” culture has been popular for a long time in bars away from the main meeting area.
In the face of increasingly stringent diversification reviews, the male-dominated real estate industry is under pressure to curb some of these excessive behaviors.
“It’s called the Big Buck. It’s a question of diversity… Professional women don’t want to go downhill [the promenade] La Croisette and the wolf whistled,” the senior attendee said.
Mipim was forced to adapt in the past, especially after the 2008 financial crisis.
“Before the crisis, banks were racing to have the best party and were actively looking for real estate borrowers. Now everyone is thinking about costs and all this has been cut,” said Leslaw, who has not participated recently. “It has great value for many people,” he said. “But when the top bankers stopped going to Mipim, I stopped going to Mipim.
Many banks, developers and investors, including Credit Suisse and Ivanhoé Cambridge, will participate in the conference in September. Conference organizers and attendees have similar hopes: next year, everyone will be ready to fully return to the real world.