25 Jan 2024

The real estate funds industry came together on 25 January to network and listen to expert views on the outlook for the year ahead for markets and the industry at AREF’s Vision 24. This was kindly hosted by M&G Real Estate in their excellent auditorium.

Neil Blake, Global Head of Forecasting and Analytics at CBRE, was the keynote speaker and gave an overview of the macroeconomic environment, property market trends, forecasts and some structural challenges. Highlighting an apparent transition from the distinct pessimism of mid-2023, to more of a guarded optimism currently, Neil’s presentation sought to answer the question; can things only get better?

Following this, Aviva Investor’s Head of Real Estate Research, Jonathan Bayfield, moderated the panel session, where Neil was joined by the following speakers:

  • Emma Gullifer, Assistant Fund Manager, Columbia Threadneedle;
  • Richard Gwilliam, Head of Property Research at M&G Real Estate;
  • Jennifer Murray, Investment Manager at Homes England.

Further to their own views on the year ahead, the panel answered a host of questions from delegates, ranging from how investors regarded different fund structures to how residential fits in a balanced portfolio; the evolution of single family housing as a distinct asset class to whether the required retrofit capital spend to achieve net zero is sufficiently priced in.

After this very insightful panel session, AREF’s CEO, Paul Richards, gave a brief overview of the main areas of focus for the association over the coming year and some key events coming up.

Special thanks to our speaker Neil and moderator Jonathan Bayfield. Thanks also to all our excellent panellists for such a great discussion. And many thanks to M&G Real Estate for their generosity in being such great hosts for this event.

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Ed Protheroe

Ed Protheroe

Strategy Consultant, AREF

Ed consults for and acts on behalf of AREF on several Board initiatives around communications, strategy and business development. Before founding consulting firm Parkview Capital Ltd in Feb 2017, he had senior franchise and business management roles at M&G Investments and M&G Real Estate. He has also been Head of Research at a boutique broker and, previously, was an award-winning pan-European equities fund manager at Aberdeen Asset Management.