It was the first EXPO REAL under COVID-19 conditions. From October 11 to 13, 2021, the real estate industry came together at the most important European industry meeting in Munich—and the great joy over the reunion could be felt. The participants particularly appreciated the many, high-quality contacts. The hottest topics were the challenges posed by the coronavirus, climate change and digitalization.
“In all exhibition halls, you sense the atmosphere of confidence. 1,198 exhibitors and over 19,200 participants made intensive use of the three days at EXPO REAL to drive future projects, gather information and maintain their networks,” explains Klaus Dittrich, CEO of Messe München. “Of course, compared to the record-breaking years before COVID-19, the show was smaller. But the new start was successful and EXPO REAL has once again proven itself to be Europe's most important real estate trade show.” A precondition for success was Messe München's detailed protection and hygiene concept.
More than 19,200 participants from 52 countries (2019: 46,747 / 76) came to Munich to visit EXPO REAL. The total number of participants was divided into 9,916 trade visitors (2019: 22,065) and 9,296 company representatives (2019: 24,682). After Germany, the top ten visitor countries were: Austria, the Netherlands, Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Switzerland, Poland, France, Czech Republic, Luxembourg, Spain, and Italy.
The 1,198 exhibitors came from 29 countries (2019: 2,189 / 44). After Germany, the top ten exhibitor countries were: Austria, the Netherlands, Poland, Switzerland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, France, Serbia, and Italy. International joint pavilions came from Austria (“Austria”, “Europa Mitte”), Switzerland (“Swiss Circle”), the Netherlands (“Holland Property Plaza”, “Holland Metropole”) as well as from Barcelona, Lodz, Moscow, and Prague.
Many speeches and discussions held at the conference as well as exhibitor and start-up presentations were recorded and will be accessible on the EXPO REAL ONLINE platform until mid-November 2021.
“EXPO REAL 2021 will perhaps be remembered as the most important trade fair of the last decade, as it clearly demonstrated to all players that the major tasks of the future—climate change, transformation, digitalization—can only be mastered through joint efforts across all sectors. It was so good that the industry had these three days in Munich to fill up on trust. The timing was spot on,” explains Fabian Hellbusch, Head of Marketing and Communications at Union Investment Real Estate. Chiara Aengevelt, Managing Partner of Aengevelt Immobilien confirms: “EXPO REAL is Europe's most important meeting place for the real estate industry and the starting signal for the year-end business. We took advantage of that—on site and face to face. Also, the density of decision-makers and executives was particularly high this year, and the quality of the discussions was very good.” And Constanze Römer, Project Manager of the Berlin-Brandenburg booth says: “After the months of uncertainty in planning due to the coronavirus, we were glad to be able to offer our co-exhibitors and partners this platform for their business again. It was nice to see that together we can enjoy personal discussions that we had missed for so long.”
As usual, the conference program offered a wide range of information on markets, segments, digital innovations—and of course also looked at fundamental developments. “EXPO REAL 2021 made clear that the German real estate market remains highly attractive and was even able to largely defy the COVID-19 crisis,” explains Dr. Gertrud Traud, Chief Economist at Helaba Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen. This will tend to continue as long as interest rates remain low. “I expect the first interest rate move by Christine Lagarde, ECB, at the end of 2023,” the expert predicted in her keynote. Dr. Holger Schmieding, Chief Economist of the private bank Berenberg gave a clear answer to the question of whether a money or property bubble was heading our way: “Not in sight so far.”
In many forums, it became obvious that the industry plays a key role in climate protection: “A comprehensive turnaround toward climate protection will not be possible without the real estate sector,” said Prof. Matthias Garschagen, Chair of Anthropogeography at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich. “At the same time, the sector plays a central role in successful climate change adaptation, for example, in dealing with increasing heat or heavy rainfalls in cities,” he continued. Urban development has a strong social component here—especially when it comes to housing. According to Prof. Dr. Armin Nassehi, Chair of General Sociology and Social Theory, also at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich, “this central function of our lives must be organized in such a way that appropriate offerings can be made available for different life plans and ways of living, including the different milieus of society.”