Saturday, March 31, 2012

Housing-Urban-Labor-Macro (HULM) conference explores causes and consequences of the housing crisis

The University of Wisconsin-Madison has long been known as a leader in research, including cutting-edge explorations of housing and economic issues conducted by the UW-Madison real estate faculty. Compelling real-life problems challenge these leading academics to find unique solutions for improving our urban environment worldwide.

In March, the UW real estate faculty joined their peers in sharing the findings of their research at the sixth Housing-Urban-Labor-Macro (HULM) Conference, held at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. This biannual conference was first held in the fall of 2009 and is now well known for facilitating the presentation and discussion of some of the most impressive real estate and urban research conducted by leading academics from around the world.

"We organized the first HULM conference in an effort to create a new venue for the rapidly growing field of real estate research," says Professor and Graaskamp Center Academic Director Morris A. Davis. "Our partnerships with the Federal Reserve Banks in Atlanta, Chicago and St. Louis have helped us widen our audience and bring this research to the people who will benefit the most from it."

The spring 2012 HULM conference was organized by Professor Erwan Quintin, a former senior economist and policy advisor at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. "A unique aspect of this event is the collaboration it fosters between academic researchers who study optimal policy responses to various real estate events and the very people who implement these policy responses," says Quintin. "This includes not only Federal Reserve economists but also researchers from government-sponsored agencies."

As has been the case for most HULM meetings to date, the causes and consequences of the foreclosure boom emerged as the dominant question at the Boston Fed event. Among other presenters, Kyle Herkenhoff discussed the effect of foreclosure delays on the length of unemployment spells, while Paul Willen proposed a new and improved way to measure the effect of foreclosed properties on the value of neighboring homes.

Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh, for his part, argued that the deterioration of underwriting standards is the most likely explanation for the recent boom-bust cycle in home prices. That presentation prompted a very lively debate on what caused this deterioration in the first place. Two possible explanations are a regulatory environment more tolerant of risky mortgages around the turn of the century and the effects of increased demand for the investment grade paper created via mortgage securitization.

Urban economics questions also received their fair share of attention, with several presentations devoted to explaining why observationally similar people tend to earn very different amounts in different cities. Gilles Duranton, for his part, discussed a new approach to measure the speed with which urban costs rise with city size.

At the end of the two-day conference, Quintin says he feels the goals of presentation and collaboration were well met.

"HULM is a unique opportunity for economists around the world who study real estate questions to exchange and debate ideas," Quintin says. "Research ideas are born or become more mature at HULM, new co-authorships are formed, and new policy proposals emerge." Davis echoes this sentiment, saying, "When you have 40 people in a room that are all experts, we are able to learn from listening to what people we don't typically interact with have to say."

The next installment of the conference will take place at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago on October 5-6, 2012.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Join the Real Estate Club for "fantasy" investment trading

Undergraduate real estate major Stephen Rothstein (BBA '12) has created a team on a "fantasy" investment trading site for Real Estate Club members to challenge each other in the game of REIT trading.

Real estate investors may be the most talented fantasy football players in the world and not even know it. Their inherent understanding of risk/return analysis makes them dangerous opponents in any league. For instance, Aaron Rodgers is a quality core asset. The definition of consistency, he is a class A fully occupied office building with credible tenants signed to long term leases. On the other hand, Michael Vick is a more opportunistic play. His ability to earn rushing and passing yards give him the potential to be the most dynamic player in football--that is, if he stays healthy, and out of trouble.

UW FREIT is a fantasy REIT league that captures the competition of a fantasy football league, while educating students on investment in real estate investment trusts. Rather than holding a position in a quarterback or running back, students must long or short office and retail REITs. A virtual investment platform called Updown has made this contest possible. To win, one will need to employ an opportunistic portfolio strategy, despite the widely considered core nature of REITs.

Students are signing up now for this interesting and fun contest, as they indirectly network with other members of the league. You can join in and match your know-how and talents against Wisconsin's best and brightest. If you’d like to learn more about UW FREIT, leave a comment below and we'll be in touch. The current league will run until May 2012.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Reporting from MIPIM: Cautious optimism

The Graaskamp Center was very glad for the opportunity to contribute to MIPIM's official blog. Prof. Erwan Quintin, along with Wisconsin School of Business Dean François Ortalo-Magné, led the delegation of Wisconsin Real Estate MBA students who attended the international event. He summarized his perspective and his outlook on the week's activities in this post.

As seems to be the case every year, strong themes clearly emerged at MIPIM. First and foremost, participants are looking for signs that the crisis days are over and that investors are once again willing to accept some exposure to real estate beyond the safest, core markets. Investors also want to know which opportunistic markets will benefit the most from the recovery, if and when it comes. And they want to know what lessons, if any, the industry has learned from the crisis experience.

The broad sentiment at MIPIM this year is probably best described as “cautious optimism.” As bearish as they sound about their own markets, European investors appear remarkably bullish about U.S. prospects.

He also offered this:

A near consensus also emerged among institutional investors that the basic investment model in real estate must change in the wake of the recent financial crisis. Capital losses of historic magnitude have prompted large investors to question past practices, demand significant changes in how they interact with partners and fund managers. Investors are demanding more control over how their capital gets deployed, more transparency, and are working harder to align incentives throughout the intermediation chain. A new and improved real estate fund model should result from this phenomenon.

To continue reading Prof. Quintin's outlook, visit the MIPIMWorld blog.

Wisconsin also contributed these posts:

For more of Wisconsin's Reporting from MIPIM
here on the Wisconsin Real Estate Viewpoint, click on the "MIPIM" tag.

Monday, March 19, 2012

UW Real Estate Club Spring Trip: Boston

On March 14-16, twenty-five students from the Real Estate Club (and Club adviser Sharon McCabe) headed east to tour the Boston market. The trip started with a networking event at The Hampshire House (you may know it as the Cheers bar) on Wednesday night, where students were able to interact with local area alums in addition to those in town for the PREA conference. We were also able to host some prospective students that lived in the area.

Thursday morning started with meetings at Jones Lang LaSalle and the Boston Redevelopment Authority, providing students with an overview of the Boston market. We then moved on to a property tour of One Federal, a Class A office building undergoing a $19M renovation, that was organized by alum Brian Berry. Afterwards, students lunched at the historic Faneuil Hall/Quincy Market before heading off by bus to East Cambridge. Peter Calkins of Forest City walked us through his company's collaboration with MIT in developing a unique mixed-use research park serving the city's life science industry. From there, the bus tour continued throughout the city, viewing new developments as they made their into the Seaport district. Alum Jake Maliel set up a tour of One Marina Park Dr. with CBRE, a newly completed building overlooking the Boston harbor. We learned about the area's goal to become the 'Innovation District,' highlighted by Vertex's 1.1M square foot lease signed in the area last year. After finishing the tour, the group met local alums for a seafood dinner at Legal Sea Foods -a Boston institution.

Friday morning started right where we left off, touring the Liberty Hotel. This unique redevelopment project was completed in 2007, after serving nearly 150 years as a Suffolk County jail. Students then got on 'The T' to tour the newly renovated Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Alum Paul Gilbert, an overseer of the Museum, organized the tour of the $100M+ expansion, discussing in detail the design and financing of the new building.

The trip proved to be a great success, and many students were able to stay in town for the weekend's St. Patrick's Day festivities. Much thanks to Jill Hatton and Bob Schneiders for being intimately involved in the planning process, in addition to alums Kevin Wall, Peter Tedesco, Bruce Guenther, Jeff Herscott, Laura Miller, and Jason Rothenberg and Graaskamp Executive Director Mike Brennan for attending the week's events.

Friday, March 16, 2012

MIPIM: Reflections and Takeaways

The MIPIM experience is hard to describe. I know this because we had several prep meetings prior to the conference, and while they were all very informative and useful, they still didn’t really paint a picture as to how the massive spectacle would really unfold. Much of the time it felt like we were drinking from a fire hydrant, just trying to take in as much as we could. The magnitude of the event, the amount of money put into each “booth”, the sheer volume of exotic cars and multimillion dollar yachts…it’s truly a demonstration of how large a role real estate plays in global wealth.

For a young professional at the forefront of his attempt to break into the industry, I found the opportunity to be immersed in such a vast congregation of knowledge and experience that it was invaluable. Our itinerary included scheduled meetings with industry professionals that are friends of the Real Estate program at UW, as well as two summits (investor and mayor) that allowed the students to sit at round tables and listen in on the conversations being held. I was one of the few students that was lucky enough to attend both summits. At the summits we were tasked with scribing the conversation that occurred at our tables, then submitting a condensed version of our notes to go towards a final MIPIM white paper for that event.

My main take away from the investor summit is that it seems that “passive” investing is out the window. Too many institutional investors got burned in the recession, and it seems that gone are the days of sitting back and trusting the fund manager to execute a define investment strategy. Our separate talk with Choy-Soon Chua of SEB Asset Management confirmed this notion. Chua described that, now possibly more than ever, investors are looking for transparency and track record when choosing a fund manager. This is why Blackstone, with its impeccable history of success, is still able to raise $10 billion in funds while other firms struggle to find cash. This is also an opportunity for smaller, lesser known funds to draw attention. As investors are looking to shake up their portfolio and find a safe haven for their money, smaller funds that are adjusting to cater to the desires of these investors (e.g. transparency, communication, defined strategy) can prove themselves an attractive option.

One thing that surprised me at MIPIM is the presence of cities themselves on display for investors. I was previously under the impression that development projects were presented on a project by project basis in hopes of attracting investors. However, some of the largest cities in the Europe – Paris, London, Munich, Stockholm, Copenhagen – as well as other lesser known cities around the world would have large booth areas that promoted their city as a whole. This concept ties back to my experience at the mayor summit and the discussion of funding of infrastructure investments. What I learned is that there is an endless demand for cash to fund infrastructure development and improvements in major metropolitan areas. The mayors at my table discussed the hardship of prioritizing and allocating the little funds that were available. With this in mind, it makes sense that each city is attempting to portray itself as an ideal opportunity for investment, since the need for cash is not necessarily limited to any single development. One interesting note of differentiation regarding how cities were selling themselves this year, versus in previous years, is that there was a decided shift from "opportunity and growth" to "safety and stability". This goes to reflect the consistent theme of secure and stable returns that resonated throughout the conference.

The overall sentiment at the conference was positive. It was actually surprisingly positive, considering that Europe is in the middle of a recession and that some predict the worst has yet to begin. However, multiple individuals countered this negativity with this statement: “If we weren’t optimistic, we wouldn’t be in this business.” The business, of course, is investment and development in real estate, and the conference was filled with individuals who think that money put into real estate is money well spent. I realized that it’s important to keep this in perspective when listening to speakers and networking with other conference participants. While there is plenty to learn for the sources, they are also inherently biased and might not have the most pragmatic viewpoint on their situation.

Other takeaways:
  • Bring sunglasses and comfortable shoes.
  • Drink wine. It’s cheaper than water in the South of France.
  • Spend time wandering around and taking in all the commotion. Sometimes it can be useful just to witness how professionals from different countries interact and engage with one another.
  • Don't get your schedule so booked that you don't have time to wander the booths and strike up conversations organically - sometimes your best leads come when you're not expecting them.
  • Don’t be discouraged if you come across someone who isn’t interested in speaking with you. There are thousands of other people at MIPIM who are.
  • There is such a thing as a free lunch at MIPIM. You just have to know where to look - try the German booths.
  • The bus drivers for the conference have an hour every night for dinner, so you may end up choosing to walk home one night (see first takeaway).
  • If you're a student asking participants to fill out a survey, then the Asian and English attendees are your best starting point.
  • Speak slowly and clearly when conversing with other participants. English is not the first language of the majority of people there.
  • Give it everything you have. The days are busy and the nights are long. Sleep is limited. Be prepared to fight through any lethargy and take advantage of the opportunity.

Andrew Toby is a first-year MBA student in the James A. Graaskamp Center for Real Estate. A CPA from California, Andrew hopes to utilize both his accounting background and the knowledge gained in the MBA program to pursue a career in private equity investments in real estate.

Photo courtesy of MIPIM_World

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Reporting from MIPIM: Risk Aversion

Reporting from MIPIM:

François Ortalo-Magné, Albert O. Nicholas Dean of the Wisconsin School of Business, gave the keynote wrap-up address at MIPIM this year. Alongside Mark Roberts, Global Head of Research for RREEF, Ortalo-Magné spoke on the key themes heard at MIPIM during the conference.

One of the key points of Ortalo-Magné's talk was that throughout the conference, a general theme of risk aversion, with a focus on stable returns was consistently heard. Cities that were promoting themselves at MIPIM utilized this message in selling themselves as low-risk investment locales. This was a far cry from the dynamism with which cities had previously marketed themselves at MIPIM.

Levels of risk were a dominant theme of conversations in the MIPIM halls. "What has been striking this year at MIPIM is that major cities are using their low-risk credentials as a selling point to international investors," noted Francois Ortalo-Magne, Albert O. Nicholas Dean of Wisconsin School of Business. "It used to be that the cities would sell themselves as exciting and dynamic markets, now the low-risk card is being played to the maximum."

PR Newswire picked up Ortalo-Magné's comments regarding the nature of how cities are pursuing real estate investment and posted on their website.

For the full presentation from the wrap-up keynote, click here.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Reporting from MIPIM: Optimism with a new vocabulary

Reporting from MIPIM: Final thoughts on the wrap-up keynote presentation to end MIPIM 2012 from one of our students:

Here we are, the final day of MIPIM. It seems that the champagne-and-caviar yacht parties have finally taken a toll on the attendees. The crowds have thinned out, my fellow Badger students and I are exhausted but ready to attend the pièce de résistance, the keynote speech by our rock star dean François Ortalo-Magné.

We had spent the previous day conducting a survey measuring the general sentiment of MIPIM attendees. Those findings coupled with the information we've been hearing and sharing during our daily debriefs, we are looking forward to the culmination of this great effort.

We met at the Le Corbusier hall, named after the famed early 20th century French architect Charles-Edouard Jeanneret. François was joined on stage by Mark Roberts from RREEF Real Estate. Mark presented raw global economic data and projections specific to the real estate sector. The graphs clearly indicate and support the idea that core holdings are a safe haven for those funds that are constantly on the hunt for high yields which is a rarity during challenging economic times.

François then amplified the buzz words we've been hearing all week which are "transparency," "alignment" and "like mindedness" of investors; this type of vocabulary seems to be a new phenomenon here at MIPM. However, they are concepts that make sense in the context of increased joint ventures which are the most secure frameworks for investors where both risk and reward are shared equally. François also highlighted the prominence and importance of sustainability and green design and mentioned the Qatari initiative as a model to be emulated. He echoed the importance of core assets in a portfolio but also suggested the premise that "core periphery assets" are a viable alternative class to hold.

Finally, the data that we compiled was presented, drum roll! It seems that the majority of attendees are more optimistic about the future. There is also little variance of sentiment data from 2011. The majority appear to be open to the idea that non-core assets are a legitimate option. Investors are split down the middle on the question regarding debt markets and whether the current state constitutes an opportunity rather than an impediment.

Today our MIPIM immersion ends, and we pass the torch to the future Graaskamp Center students. My advice to you is to enjoy and exploit every minute of your time here, it is truly a once in a lifetime experience. The day has ended; I take my last stroll on the Boulevard de la Croisette as the sun sets. As if on cue I hear the music of Edith Piaf playing in the background to bid me a proper French farewell. I’m leaving Cannes with a heavy heart because it is so easy to fall in love with the romanticism of this city. Au revoir, Cannes, au revoir. I promise to come back to see you again.

Bashar Elayyan is a first-year MBA student in the James A. Graaskamp Center for Real Estate. As an architect based in Chicago, he was involved in the design and execution of numerous complex large scale projects in the U.S., Mideast and Chinese markets. His career aspirations lie within the domains of REIT management or real estate finance and investment banking.

Reporting from MIPIM: Final wrap-up keynote presentation

Prof. François Ortalo-Magné, Albert O. Nicholas Dean of the Wisconsin School of Business, presented the findings of a survey of participants at MIPIM 2012. He and Mark Roberts, Global Head of Research at RREEF, discussed the major themes and takeaways from the week in Cannes.

For more visit, the MIPIM World blog.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Reporting from MIPIM: Day 3: A Political Perspective on the Euro Crisis

The Wisconsin School of Business is proud to partner with MIPIM World to bring you updates and developments from the show. Bashar Elayyan (MBA '13) reports on the official blog on his experiences and takeaways from Day 3.

Bonjour from Cannes!

Day three of MIPM is nearly over, and it remains a beehive of activity in what is currently the de facto center of the real estate universe. I had more time to walk about the booths today and I can inform you that it is a dazzling carnival of renderings, animations, techie pavilions and shiny models. You are enveloped and bombarded by a mosaic of competing ambitious projects screaming for your attention. Your eyes simply can’t have enough of this feast of monumental aspirations that radiate national pride.

Read more at MIPIM World.

For more coverage check in with us on the Viewpoint or follow @UW_GraaskampCtr on Twitter.

Reporting from MIPIM: Who will "win" in distressed investing in Europe?

Reporting from MIPIM on Wednesday's session on Private Equity: European Distressed Investing

The latest European credit crisis has created an interesting scenario involving apprehensive real estate private equity investors and deleveraging commercial banks. The facts are clear: large European commercial banks will be forced soon to unload billions of dollars of real estate debt from their books due to tightening regulations (Basel, Solvency, etc.) in the near future. There is enormous pent-up demand among investors for these assets, with current fundraising in the tens of billions of dollars.

This would seem to represent a significant opportunity but so far, European banks have been reluctant to shed real estate assets at “fire sale” prices. Will supply loosen up to meet this demand? And what will it take?

In the heat of the crisis, European investors fled to core assets. The investment focus was on gateway cities such as London, Paris, and Frankfurt. Now, many feel core assets in these locations are over-valued, reaching yields as low as 3-4%. So this area does not currently present significant opportunities in Europe.

An interesting side note to this situation is the relative outlook by European vs. U.S. investors. U.S. investors seem to be far more pessimistic on the future of Europe than are European investors. European optimism is based in knowledge of the history of their markets, and confidence in the structures in place to fix the current crisis. So does that mean American investors may miss out on deals on distressed assets?

For more coverage of discussions and developments at MIPIM, check our blog and visit the official MIPIM blog. And follow us on Twitter (@UW_GraaskampCtr) and on Facebook.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Reporting from MIPIM: Day 2 with a Middle Eastern theme

Reporting from MIPIM: First-year students in the Real Estate MBA program at Wisconsin are in Cannes this week attending MIPIM. It's a great opportunity for them to be immersed in the international real estate scene, to see classroom principles in action, and of course to network. One of our students, Bashar Elayyan, shares his experiences from Day 2.

It’s the start of a beautiful sunny day; the air is crisp and heavy with the salty smell of the Mediterranean. The suits are immaculate and sharply pressed, and the caffeine fueled real estate global community converges on the Palais for another exciting eventful day at MIPM.

My day so far has had a Middle Eastern theme as I attended a seminar entitled MENA: Opportunities and Challenges. The Middle East and North Africa remain to be active regions and the hall was packed with professionals eager to hear the state of the real estate sector in this important part of the world. The topic on everyone’s minds is the real estate meltdown in hotspots such as Dubai. Security, in the context of the Arab Spring, was discussed extensively. The lack of a legal framework that regulates and protects parties involved in the sector has also been a challenge to entry. Despite the obstacles facing MENA, it remains to be an attractive region with great potential for investors.

My next stop was to the Qatari pavilion which has generated a lot of buzz this year. Qatar has been dubbed the new Dubai but so far has progressed in a subdued and controlled manner. Doha’s skyline has changed and new cities are emerging out of the sand dunes. I attended a lecture by one of the architects responsible for the design of Lusail City. The topic of preserving national culture and heritage was extensively covered. The world is under threat of turning into a massive homogeneous landscape where national identity is lost in the name of modernity. Lusail City is an example where contemporary design was implemented in a way that conformed to the language and essence of the local culture within a theme of sustainability and green design.

That’s it for today, tomorrow I will be attending a lecture by the former foreign minister of Germany which will cover the state of politics and economics within the European continent.

Bashar Elayyan is a first-year MBA student in the James A. Graaskamp Center for Real Estate. As an architect based in Chicago, he was involved in the design and execution of numerous complex large scale projects in the U.S., Mideast and Chinese markets. His career aspirations lie within the domains of REIT management or real estate finance and investment banking.

Photo courtesy of MIPIM_World

Reporting from MIPIM: A "perfect storm" for investment in the U.S.?

Reporting from MIPIM:

The U.S. is poised at a "perfect storm" of factors aligned to drive investment in the country. Factors including the US dollar which remains the world's default currency, the continued appetite of U.S. businesses for new opportunities and American consumers' continued reign as the top worldwide consumers of goods and services.

On Tuesday afternoon, presenters from the Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate (AFIRE), CBRE, the Paramount Group and Metzler Real Estate spoke on what many analysts foresee as an influx of investment capital coming into the U.S. over the next five years. This confluence of factors points to the U.S. as a safe haven.

Primary points from the discussion included the continued dominance (some would say stranglehold?) that the U.S. has as an investment destination and as the best option for capital appreciation. U.S. cities make up three out of the top four cities for global investment: New York, London, Washington DC and Sao Paolo. Additionally, total U.S. transaction volume has reached its 2004 volume, there are downward sloping unemployment numbers in the US, the return on real estate is 500 basis points over that of bonds, and foreign investors and pension funds are currently buying U.S. REITs: More elements of a "perfect storm," even in the face of anticipated uncertainty in market confidence from November's U.S. presidential election.

For more on investment trends for 2012, read more about the survey conducted annually by the Graaskamp Center of members of AFIRE: New York, DC and Then...Sao Paulo? The 5 Top Cities for Investors

And for more coverage of discussions and developments at MIPIM, check our blog and visit the official MIPIM blog.

Reporting from MIPIM: What happens to "brown" properties in a "green" world?

Reporting from MIPIM 2012:

Have we truly turned a corner on sustainable building practices, no longer focused on whether or not it's feasible to embrace these new techniques but shifting instead to the challenges faced by the structures that don't (or can't) go "green"?

It appears that the question of whether sustainable building is a positive net present value investment has been answered and the industry has now turned to the difficult task of large scale implementation. That was the conclusion of this morning's session at MIPIM "Sustainable Property Investment: Does Good Mean Good Value?"

Sustainable buildings have been proven to outperform conventional buildings in a variety of value metrics. Demand is building for standardized data collection and the creation of a "green" index. This would allow for greater transparency regarding green benefits and allow buyers and sellers to make more informed decisions. Although state governments and market observers have sought to gather data about the performance of sustainable buildings, finding a way to share this data has proved to be quite difficult. The ability to provide accurate and applicable data regarding green buildings is the greatest challenge that the field faces in the near future.

The next phase of the transition to sustainability is the functional obsolescence that will accumulate to non-green buildings in the future. These so-called 'brown discounts' were estimated to be substantial and will only grow. Conventional buildings will lose their competitive position and owners of these properties should anticipate major re-positioning or decreases in value. There is no timeline or magnitude of brown discounts yet, but this prospect is certainly one of the most troubling threats (or is it an opportunity?) in real estate today.

For more coverage of discussions and developments at MIPIM, check our blog and visit the official MIPIM blog.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Reporting from MIPIM: Surprising outlook on European retail

The Wisconsin Real Estate Program is participating in MIPIM for the seventh year running. Attending the international property conference is an important dimension to the global perspective that students gain from the program. During the week, we'll be reporting on key takeaways from the panel sessions.

The surprising outlook from the morning session "Markets, malls and main streets: Where is the future of European retail investment?" is that retail is outperforming office and industrial sectors. While panelists admitted that volatility is a factor, with retail more ups-and-downs than office, but they judged it to be less variable than industrial.

Panelists discussed three reasons to invest in this sector-- (1) diversity of cash flow, (2) limited supply due to regulations, (3) high barriers to entry due to the management intensive nature of the sector--with some caveats. Investors should target properties that have proven track records; shopping centers with 100-200 retailers are preferred over a "big box" store. While some investors fear competition from online sales or the risk of cannibalization, they could think of it as a complement to a brick and mortar shop. And for mixed use projects, a specialist in residential development can be an important partner for success.

Given the state of the economy and its fragile recovery, do you share this outlook for retail?

For all of our coverage from MIPIM, click here.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Excitement is building up to the kickoff of MIPIM 2012

Check out our post at the official MIPIM blog where we will be contributing next week during the show.

Excitement is building up to the kickoff of MIPIM 2012. Public sector leaders and private sector investors will converge on Cannes, France, next week to take the industry’s temperature, to get a glimpse into the near future, to ask questions (and hopefully find some answers), and to make valuable connections. Students in the real estate MBA program at the Wisconsin School of Business will be there as well.

This is the seventh year that a delegation of Wisconsin Real Estate MBA students will be attending the show. Students and faculty are leaving today and tomorrow for Cannes, still doing research into the topics that will be discussed and the questions that they want to ask.

For a look back at our previous MIPIM coverage, click on the posts labelled MIPIM. And be sure to visit our blog next week for more reporting on the panel sessions, plus Dean François Ortalo-Magné's remarks on Friday. His keynote is the perfect way to wrap-up the meeting, with the major takeaways and trends. Don't miss it!