Europe’s economy for the past five years have been called a boom, even though Eurozone GDP growth never did better than 2.4%. Yet for nearly a decade, doomsayers continued to warn that low-interest rates and quantitative easing would doom us to another, deeper financial crisis. Should we be more concerned by the indebtedness of European countries, or does it make sense to trust that tighter banking regulations have curbed the excesses that brought about the last crisis? And could the end of this boom actually slow the economy just enough to spark a new wave of real estate investment in CEE when investor liquidity levels are still high enough to take advantage of it?
Europe’s post-crisis economic miracle is coming back down to Earth, there’s an increasing differential between European and US interest rates, and we’re less clear about Brexit than we were after the referendum. Yet none of these uncertainties have killed the appetite of institutional and local real estate investors. It’s full-steam ahead. Is this simply the last gasp of the Great Recovery or are today’s deals presenting questionable value for investors? The panel will discuss how much more local investors can be expected to buy this cycle and the depth of demand from the new kids on the block from Korea.
In the past, developers made as little noise about their projects as possible, hoping that local pressure groups wouldn’t kill their plans. This is changing, with key projects for the city now exhibited at public venues like CAMP and extensive discussions with Prague residents and officials. But is this a winning strategy, and does it apply only to huge projects by the biggest players? Prague has new leadership following last year’s elections and their rhetoric is far more investor friendly than before. But will they actually produce changes to the planning process and complete badly needed transportation investments? Even if they trust Prague’s new leaders, can developers trust the system?
Reform to the construction law is certainly needed, but in reality, isn’t the frightening rise in residential prices a more complicated issue than simply the difficulty in getting planning and construction permits? How does the situation fit into the European context, in which the middle class is being priced out of ownership, fundamentally changing the social structure? Is there anything that can be done to slow the trend in Prague and what are the dangers of failing to do so?
In the world of online retail, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for every city for delivering goods to customers. What’s clear is that the range of goods consumers no longer need to buy in a store is growing by the month. If the volume of business is clearly set to rise for years to come, are cities really prepared to sit back and watch their cities fill with vans and their sidewalks clog with double-parked vehicles? Trucks are already banned from motorways on certain weekend days, so it can’t be long until an urban backlash follows. What solutions are European towns developing to meet this new challenge and can any of them be applied in Prague?
New York mayor Bill de Blasio recently called for the banning of new skyscrapers, claiming they are wasteful structures that create too much carbon emissions. His controversial statement offended many in the property industry. But have we become complacent about the impact the commercial real estate is having on climate change? Are LEED and BREEAM certificates really the best the industry can do? With billions of dollars now being invested into R&D that’s transforming the car industry, is a similar push now needed to develop new design methods and technolgies to improve the carbon footprint of new and existing buildings?
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