It is difficult to quantify the impact of events like the UK Real Estate Infrastructure and Investment Forum (UKREiiF). This new annual event with a (not very) catchy title carries with it a lot of expectation and boasts some pretty big numbers, such as over 4,000 attendees, but the most crucial number of all is near impossible to calculate: how many property deals are actually done at events like these?
It’s no doubt a question that the listed real estate investment trusts (Reits) and housebuilders asked themselves when deciding whether or not to attend. Regional developers such as Moda and Palace Capital (PCA) both sent their head honchos to make the most of an opportunity to talk with local politicians in places where they might want to develop something, but the London-focused landlords were evidently not as attracted to the Leeds-focused event.
The bosses of British Land (BLND) and Landsec (LAND) were tied up that week with their full-year results, so sent a handful of less senior people instead. SEGRO (SGRO) and Great Portland Estates (GPE) also only sent a smattering of representatives rather than their top people while Shaftesbury (SHB), Derwent London (DLN) and WeWork (US:WE) opted to send no-one at all. As a source close to Shaftesbury put it to me, “there isn’t much point it going to events like this, when the company can see the people it needs to on the streets nearby”.