France offers great opportunities to newcomers who want to invest in residential assets and have the skills to manage them, Benjamin Bill, Partner, CMS, France told The Real Estate Day.
‘Resi has become an institutional asset class in the last couple of years,’ he said. ‘It has attracted a lot of interest from foreign and domestic investors alike, so we have seen massive inflows of capital from the UK, Germany, the Netherlands as well as French capital’.
Resi is now seen as a serious investment proposition, but the problem is the management and operational side.
‘In France big owners like insurance companies have sold their resi assets because they were too management-intensive and they were not in a position to cope, so they prefer to focus on commercial real estate like offices where less staff is needed,’ Bill said.
Residents increasingly demand more of an interface with the owners because they want their day to day problems to be listened to and solved, so ‘I think there are real opportunities for newcomers and service providers to offer tailor-made management for the occupiers of resi properties,’ he said.
Looking ahead, the resi sector has a lot of catching up to do on the technology front.
‘In office buildings we have seen new technology connecting the needs of the owner and of the occupier, but that is not the case for resi at present,’ Bill said. ‘But we can imagine it happening soon’.
In the near future, a resi building will be like a new car today, he predicted, that tells you exactly if there is something wrong with it and what it is the minute you turn it on.
‘These new capabilities technology offers could and should be used,’ he said. ‘That’s the major shift that will come in the next few years. Resi properties will be fully equipped with the latest technologies which facilitate the interaction between user and owner’.
This shift, he predicted, ‘may lead to higher efficiencies and higher standards and the real possibility to create even more value in this sector’.
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