“Europe has to stick together, because either you swim together or you are going to sink together.” That´s the view of US star economist Nouriel Roubin, speaking at EXPO REAL, which took place in Munich at Messe München exhibition centre between October 4 and 6, 2016. Brexit and the uncertainty it is creating was topic number one in discussions at Europe’s biggest property trade fair. The event recorded a further increase in exhibitor and participant numbers.
“As seen by the presence of US star economist Nouriel Roubin, Brexit opponent Sir Howard Bernstein and the economist Professor Dr. Max Otte, EXPO REAL is a meeting place for not only the property industry, but also for experts in global development,” said Klaus Dittrich, Chairman & CEO of Messe München.
“Holding this referendum in the first place was a complete failure of the political class, both in the UK and in Europe. I think that many of the views which have been expressed by the British people are actually not too dissimilar from many of the views that would be expressed in other European countries as well. Particularly as regards immigration. The uncertainty around what Brexit actually means is going to continue,” explained Brexit opponent Sir Howard Bernstein, Chief Executive of Manchester City Council, in a discussion entitled: “Brexit: What’s in after out?”. Brexiteer Dr. Gerard Patrick Lyons, former chief economist at the bank Standard Chartered and an advisor to Boris Johnson, holds a different view: “Brexit is a fantastic opportunity for the UK and the economy will do very well in the long run.”
Professor Dr. Max Otte from the IFVE Institut für Vermögensentwicklung in Cologne, however, sees Brexit as an “enormous opportunity” for Europe: “[The Brits] have been cherry-picking for 30 years. Now perhaps that is over. And that would be good for Europe.” US star economist Nouriel Roubini commented: “The impact [of Brexit] is going to be smaller in Europe than it is in the UK.” His advice: “Europe has to stick together, because either you swim together or you are going to sink together.”
Another topic hotly debated in the conference program was the challenges of housing against a background of rising demand. Participants here included Cologne’s new mayor, Henriette Reker and Professor Dr. Michael Voigtländer from the Institut der deutschen Wirtschaft in Cologne. Florian Pronold, Parliamentary State Secretary in Germany´s Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, appealed for concepts for affordable housing: “One of the great challenges of the future is to create more affordable housing, with state support and also with private investment.” He went on to specify: “We need plots to build on, we need to increase the density of existing development. We have to make much more use of series prefabrication in the housing sector, and we need new ideas as regards floor plans and cost-effective construction.” EXPO REAL has shown that housing is not just a German theme, it is a European one. Stef Blok, Minister for Housing and the Central Government Sector in the Netherlands, said: “The Dutch housing market is very attractive for investors, we are experiencing ongoing high demand for rental apartments in the free market sector.”
The Grand Plaza, a meeting place for retail property, celebrated a successful premiere: “The Grand Plaza attracted very many visitors, and on all three days of the fair there was a lively exchange here between the retail trade and its partners,” explained Claudia Boymanns, Exhibition Director of EXPO REAL. That was underlined also by Christian Kossmala, Director of Sales, Logistics, Central Areas at Lidl Germany: “The response to the Grand Plaza was excellent, and it has created good synergies.” After a break of a few years his company returned to EXPO REAL this year “to show new concepts and to present ourselves as good partners for the cities.”
Approximately 39,000 participants from 77 countries (2015: 74) came to the 19th edition of this “International Trade Fair for Property and Investment” (a rise of around 1.9 percent on 2015, when 37,857 participants came). The total number of participants is divided into around 19,000 trade visitors (2015: 18,985) and approx. 20,000 company representatives (2015: 18,872). The international proportion among the trade visitors rose to 29.5 percent (2015: 28 percent). The top ten countries of origin among the visitors were, after Germany: UK, Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, Poland, France, Czech Republic, USA, Luxembourg and Spain.
The 1,798 exhibitors in 2016 (a rise of 3.6 percent over the 1,707 that took part in 2015) came from 29 different countries. In percentage terms, companies from outside Germany accounted for 23.3 percent of the exhibitors. The top ten countries of origin among the exhibitors were, after Germany: Austria, Netherlands, Poland, Switzerland, UK, Hungary, France, USA, Luxembourg and, in joint 10th place, Italy and the Czech Republic.