‘The world’s leading property market’ turned 30 this year and United Trust Bank was in Cannes in greater numbers than ever before. As well as the back to back daytime meetings, UTB and James Andrew International (JAI) jointly hosted an evening event attended by over 700 of the UK property industry’s leading participants. We spoke to Paul Turton, Head of Sales – Property Development, about his week at MIPIM.
“The great thing about MIPIM is that it brings together representatives of every element of the property industry from the largest institutional investors to the smallest developers across all types of property. It always reminds me of when you get to the end of a film when the credits roll and you’re presented with the hundreds of people from a vast number of different disciplines who had to come together to create the movie you just watched. MIPIM reminds you that when you see a new development project coming out of the ground it is the culmination of effort by easily hundreds of people including investors, financiers, architects, planning consultants, lawyers, accountants, suppliers, tradespersons and of course the developers themselves. All of them are represented in some way at MIPIM and that’s not an exhaustive list. Everyone you speak to at MIPIM knows someone else you should speak to. Each new contact tops a pyramid of potential new contacts you may one day be doing business with. There’s no other event like it in the world which is why it has become a must for so many people in the property industry.
Isn’t it just for big business?
“The larger developers and national house builders were there of course as are the institutional investors, clearing banks, professionals and major suppliers. However, there’s also a growing presence in the SME sector. UTB predominantly lend in the SME space. We work with regional house builders and developers on residential or residential led multi-unit projects together with investors in commercial property. One of the benefits of hosting the event with JAI was that it gave many people another reason to come to MIPIM. We sent out invitations and a clear message that we were coming to Cannes to talk business. That UTB are supporting SME developers and investors with projects this year, next year, the year after that and so on whatever happens in Westminster and Brussels. Many people and companies who also operate in the SME market hadn’t come to MIPIM before because they weren’t sure it would be worth the trip and their time. Our invitation and knowing that we’d be here was enough to get them on a plane or train heading to Cannes. Having set ourselves a target of hosting 500 guests we ended up with over 700 on the night. The feedback has been outstanding. Our biggest challenge will be fitting everyone in the same venue next year.’’
So what was the general vibe across the UK housebuilding industry, so close to March 29th and still no clear path through Brexit?
“I’d say there was a strong sense that whatever happens, everyone was just going to get on with it. That despite the uncertainty it wasn’t stopping anyone starting projects, committing money and planning for the future. That’s always been our view at UTB as we lend through the ups and downs of the economic cycle and it was great to see that ‘can do’ attitude expressed across the industry.”