Cannes awaits property fest

THIS week sees the heavyweights of the property world embark on their annual pilgrimage to Cannes for MIPIM, Europe’s largest property fair.

The four day event – known for its yachts and late night parties – is likely to be more upbeat than last year when the property market was still in the midst of a heavy slump.
Rents in the Square Mile have picked up in recent months and representatives from London will use the event to try to reassure foreign investors that it is still the place to make healthy returns.

Executives from British Land, Land Securities, CBRE and Jones Lang LaSalle will all be present at the event, while Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, is delivering a keynote speech tomorrow.

“The future for London is spectacularly bright and in my short time at MIPIM I will be taking every opportunity to shout from the roof tops that it is simply the best city in the world to invest in right now,” the Mayor will say. “The 2012 Games are approaching fast and there is huge investment in the capital’s infrastructure, resulting in numerous business opportunities. Investors are simply spoilt for choice.”

New developments in the City have ground to a halt since the downturn but there are rumours of developers and funds coming together to embark on fresh projects in order to take advantage of a shortage of prime office space in the capital.

Last week speculation was rife that Brookfield Asset Management, the Canadian based asset management firm, was planning on building a new tower in the City. Analysts say other property developers would be likely to follow suit if Brookfield decided to make the move.

But London remains in a fragile economic state and the property market would be the first to suffer the consequences of a double dip recession and further falls in the pound. If sterling drops any further outside investors might worry about the state of UK Plc and start to look for investment opportunities in other regions of the world, property analysts have warned.