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Seeing the Real Estate Industry From a Global Perspective

March 30, 2016 | Russ Salzman

Having recently spent four days with IREM President Chris Mellen, CPM, ARM, in Cannes, France, at MIPIM—which bills itself as “the world’s leading property market” and attracts more than 20,000 attendees and exhibitors each March—my observation is that, while the world sometimes seems to be getting smaller, it remains a large and diverse place.

I sense that the world is getting smaller when I hear so many common themes weave through the conversations of the real estate professionals I talk with or listen to. Recurring themes at MIPIM . . . the need for more affordable housing, the anticipated rise in interest rates, the evolution of student housing as a specialized asset class, the drive toward creating cities and buildings that offer a safe and healthy and efficient environment in which to work, shop, live, and play.

But as someone who, admittedly, tends to view the world from a U.S.-centric perspective, MIPIM reminds me that the world real estate market is vast and much is happening elsewhere. Some observations from wandering through MIPM and listening to conversations and presentations . . . the Istanbul pavilion demonstrated vividly the engineering and architectural feats coming out of Turkey. A presentation about Bologna showed how it is evolving from a distressed city to a vibrant town that is attracting a new and growing demographic. Reforms targeting fiscal policy and monetary easing have been effective in attracting foreign capital to Japan; despite its economic challenges, reports indicated that last year Japan surpassed all other Asia Pacific countries for direct commercial real estate investments, even China.

MIPIM 2016 students 

IREM CEO Russ Salzman and 2016 President Chris Mellen, CPM, ARM, with IREM online course students from Kazakhstan.

It was reported at MIPIM that the U.S. commercial real estate market continues to be seen as the most stable and secure market for foreign investment in real estate and that investors remain positive about the course of the U.S. real estate market. Good to hear. Still, there is much happening in the real estate outside of the U.S. that is attracting industry, and investor, interest—and from which we can learn.

About the Author
Russ Salzman is the Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of IREM Headquarters in Chicago.

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