Indeed, one poll found that 40% of delegates at a debate on the issue felt the cycle had yet to hit its peak and would start to drop away in 2017.
So how does this affect the sector and what is likely to be under debate this year, if a great proportion of the industry is already counting the months until harder times arrive?
One of the most pertinent and uncontrollable factors at play will surely be geopolitics. While global financial markets have to some extent stabilised, the last 12 months has seen a resurgence in unpredictable, potentially damaging geopolitical volatility.
We have seen the effects of political uncertainty here in our domestic market in Scotland: commercial real estate deals are increasingly driven by interest from private individuals based overseas looking for consistent returns. Institutional investors can’t justify the risk, perceived or otherwise, of continued uncertainty about Scotland’s place in the UK and its tax regime.
Should similar uncertainty hit the UK or global markets, for example if the UK were to leave the EU, or if plummeting oil prices sparked a major financial crisis, the wider implications for the property industry would be severe.
But there are also more predictable factors at play, and these are likely to crop up during MIPIM as industry players aim to get a barometer reading on confidence in the marketplace.
Commercial vacancy rates in buoyant markets like London, Birmingham and Manchester will have a part to play in the strength of the residential sector. Supply of high quality, viable city centre office space is not meeting demand and as occupancy rates hit the very high 90s, we may find that there just isn’t enough office space to go around. This could affect development potential and move investment elsewhere, which will have a knock-on effect on attracting residents who want to work in those cities.
Indeed, such a trend may favour leading Scottish cities in that respect, as both Edinburgh and Glasgow can offer a strong alternative to London due to the strength of both public and private investment in infrastructure and their connectivity. The Northern Powerhouse may prove to be strong competition in that respect, but that is still a nebulous idea which must translate into tangible investment and commercial opportunity.
Another more predictable factor likely to crop up are interest rates. In December last year, the Federal Reserve took many by surprise when raising interest rates for the first time in almost a decade. However, some believe there are more rises to come and the UK could follow suit by the end of this year if the Chancellor receives some heartening economic figures. Interest rates have a huge bearing on the real estate market, from mortgage rates affecting the residential market to their impact on capital investment.
The relationship between risk and likely yield in property investment is one of the most keenly scrutinised. MIPIM is the perfect forum to better understand the direction of the industry in the coming years, so we will be reporting in real time from the event in March.