Il primo MIPIM UK nel commento di Judi Seebus, Direttore Responsabile della rivista internazionale Property EU

Pollice  “un poco verso” da parte di Judi, ma « il resto del  mondo continuerà ad andare a Londra sempre » .

Ecco il testo :



Judi Seebus

Judi Seebus

Boris Johnson is a man after my own heart.The mayor of London turned up on a bicycle at the inaugural Mipim UK held at the Olympia conference hall this week to give a keynote speech at the opening of the fair. While I cycle daily to work in Amsterdam and have conquered mountains like the Mont Ventoux and the Alpe d’Huez during recent holidays in France, the prospect of cycling through the cab-choked streets of London strikes me with absolute terror and I take my cycling helmet off to Boris’ bravado. If anything, his – true to form – rousing speech about the greatness of London has cemented my admiration.
I have to confess though that Mipim UK is not likely to become a fixture on PropertyEU’s annual diary. Coming just a week after Expo Real in Munich in the already crowded autumn conference programme, the first edition appeared somewhat insular to this roving reporter. The fair was dominated by UK cities and regions and was also significantly smaller than the Provada event held in our home base Amsterdam in June. I spotted only a handful of investors including TIAA Henderson Real Estate and the UK arm of Patrizia Immobilien while the brokers seemed to have boycotted the fair altogether. The only name that cropped up regularly in the conference programme was Savills and that was no doubt due to the heavy residential focus.

London’s residential development programme was also the focus of Boris’ speech. After welcoming the audience to the ‘property capital of the world – and probably outside as well’ – and railing against the ‘slightly xenophobic’ newspaper commentators and demonstrators outside chanting homes for people not for profit, he recounted how it had occurred to him while cycling through Sinclair Road on his way to the event, how difficult it had become for new generations to buy a flat in that part of London. ‘When I bought a flat there about 27 years ago, in 1987, I paid £93,000. Now the average prices on that street according to an organisation called Zoopla are £1.6 mln and prices have moved up another £83,000 in just the last year.’ He added that house prices across London have risen 20% in the past year according to the Financial Times.
Boris’ own personal anecdote illustrates the extent of the challenge facing the mayoralty of the UK capital. There is a ‘colossal demand’ for homes from people who cannot afford to live close to their work places and ‘a deep and understandable’ sense of social injustice that they cannot. But the solution, he said, is not bash to London or cut investment to stimulate other regions. It is also a ‘non-solution’ to repel international investors ‘enthusiastically with a pitchfork’. ‘The real solution is to build hundreds of thousands of homes that are affordable for all Londoners,’ he announced.
Clearly, there is more work to be done on this front, but the London mayor claims to be on target to build 100,000 homes during his eight-year mayoralty and this year more houses are due to be delivered than in any other year since 1980. Moroever, there have been more starts on site this year than in any other year since the 1930s. And it is visible. As Boris pointed out, London is seeing its skyline change and evolve at extraordinary speed like ‘an accelerated David Attenborough nature film about the return of spring to the Canadian tundra’ as developers are emerging and their cranes are arising and sprouting all over the city.

Significantly, global institutional capital as well as private investors are lined up to invest in this promising sector. Altogether a record amount – or £34 bn (€43 bn) – of equity across the entire risk spectrum is targeting Central London at the moment, according to James Hammond, director of Capital Markets Central London at CBRE. ‘We have never seen the depth and diversity of equity that we are seeing today. There is just not enough product for everyone. London is always the first stop for overseas investors. We have seen this trend again and again, it is due to the liquidity and accessibility of the market,’ he added.
But the London mayor is working on increasing the opportunities. The Battersea Power Station – acquired by a Malaysian consortium for about €500 mln in September 2012 and previously ´fit for nothing but the cover of a Pink Floyd album´ – is being converted into thousands of homes, offices, shops and a park, he noted. The redevelopment will also provide London with two new underground stations, both extensions from the Northern line.
That’s not all. Pointing to the recently completed consultations to the FALP – Further Alterations to the London Plan – Boris noted that the London authorities are working to create five new brownfield opportunity areas in Old Kent Rd, Bromley, Canada Water, Old Oak Common and Harrow Millstone for residential and mixed-used development. Indeed, the 38 brownfield opportunity areas that the mayoralty is working on will deliver 320,000 new homes and 370,000 jobs by 2025. Altogether and including other town regeneration projects, London is on track to deliver 500,000 homes in the next 10 year, Boris pledged.
UK pension funds are also keen to step into the niche and do their part to expand London’s supply of affordable homes. Of course, they are not just socially motivated – they also aim to make money from their investment so that they can pay the pensions of some of the demonstrators that had gathered outside Olympia at Mipim UK. But they will have to compete with the ongoing flow of global money that continues to target the UK capital. And with the return of concerns about the eurozone and the Financial Times carrying headlines indicating that the fear gauge is at the highest level since the eurozone crisis, that trend is not about to abate soon.

The Brits may have lost their empire, but the rest of the world will continue to come to London – if not Mipim UK.

Testata giornalistica non registrata ai sensi dell’Art.3 bis del D.L. 18 maggio 2012, n. 63 convertito in Legge 16.07.2012 n°103

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