RealCast: Students hanker for halls, foreign funds eye-up Paris, retail reawakening

Nicol Dynes, Dan Innes, Giles Barrie and Richard Betts

In the spotlight this week:

There’s optimism about the post-pandemic student housing market. Occupancy rates have remained high at between 80% and 90% in the UK and over 90% percent in Continental Europe and students, it seems, are keen to return to accommodation to be with their peers and to receive face-to-face tuition as soon as possible.

Real Asset Media’s recent briefing on France heard that while the investment market there has been inhibited by the lack of international investors, South Korean, American and Middle Eastern investors are keen to invest again. Travel restrictions have restricted them but when these are reduced many investors will return.

However, for Paris, the largest office market in Europe, the future of post-covid office and the return to work is particularly important. But here too there is optimism that things will get back to normal once the vaccination program gathers momentum.

Meanwhile, there is strong interest in converting the city’s obsolete office buildings into residential space but there are problems to be overcome with cost, regulations and achieving ESG compliance.

In the UK, Land Securities’ results have revealed a heavy but not unexpected loss. However, while shopping centre investment values have fallen up to 50%, retail sales figures have recovered 9.6% in a month they could now provide investors with value for money and retail parks are also being eyed for repurposing.

Elsewhere, in the debt market opportunities are being identified for providing loans for transition to ESG conformity, thus providing financing for the switch from brown to green assets.

Another development to watch for is the IPSX international property securities exchange which is designed for single real estate assets. It has now gone live with the launch of Mailbox REIT and its sponsor, M7, is lining up a second asset to be launched on the IPSX.

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