Smiling in the face of the storm

This year’s Expo Real trade fair in Munich saw an almost 60 pct growth in attendance compared to last year. And given the current economic situation, there was a pressing need to share some considered opinions about where we should go from here

In a time of major upheaval, it’s clear how important Expo Real is as a platform for the exchange of information for the real estate sector,” insisted Stefan Rummel, the managing director of Messe München and the person overseeing Expo Real. “Seven halls, 1,887 exhibitors and almost 40.000 attendees – this year’s fair has almost reached 2019 levels of participation!”

Once again, all the sectors represented at the event were able to boast significant growth: the residential, office, hotel, logistics and retail asset classes, as well as the joint international pavilions and those of regions and cities, start-ups and technology providers. In addition, Ukraine was provided with its own forum to evaluate its options for future reconstruction. The key topics at the real estate fair included the growth in costs and inflation generally, interest rate policy, ESG requirements, the provision of affordable housing and the overall economic situation.

“There are many challenges that residential development currently has to face: increased construction costs and bureaucracy, skill shortages, climate protection, demographic changes… to name but a few. So we have to create the underlying conditions needed to be able to build profitably in Germany and, at the same time, expand our capacity,” argued Klara Geywitz, the federal minister for housing, urban development and building, who was there to forge alliances with the real estate sector in the two panel discussions on affordable housing she took part in. “To do so, we need to enhance productivity, shift more towards prefabrication, digitalise the entire chain for construction planning, application and execution, and promote subsidised housing,” was another point she drove home.

What are the general conditions that the real estate sector will have to contend with over in the months and years ahead of us? Commerzbank’s chief economist, Jörg Krämer, revealed that he expected inflation to remain well above 2 pct for many years to come, while key interest rates are set to rise to a historically moderate 3 pct. There will be a recession, but what we won’t be seeing is a collapse in the labour market, as labour shortages and demographic changes will continue apace – with the result that the demand for residential real estate, for example, will remain strong. But as Fabian Hellbusch, the head of marketing communications at Union Investment, explained: “Given the many upheavals taking place, Expo Real 2022 has provided us with some crucial guidance and positive sentiment as to whether the smartest strategy over the next six to nine months will be to wait and see, or rather to take very targeted advantage of the opportunities the market presents us with.” Especially now, the fair is important as a forum “to discuss current challenges in order to overcome them, by identifying together the most attractive growth opportunities,” concluded Frank Pörschke, the CEO of P3 Logistic Parks.


Expo Real 2022 – the key figures

almost 40,000 visitors from 73 countries (in 2019: 46,747 from 76)

around 19,500 trade visitors (2019: 22,065) and 20,456 company representatives (2019: 24,682)

the top ten countries of those attending in terms of numbers (after Germany): the UK, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Switzerland, France, the Czech Republic, Luxembourg, the US, Spain

1,887 exhibitors from 33 countries (in 2019: 2,189 and 44)

the top ten exhibiting countries (after Germany): Austria, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Poland, the UK, France, Portugal, the US and the Czech Republic (equally), Romania