Representatives of Texas REALTORS® and other REALTOR® associations in Texas showcased the Lone Star State’s real estate investment opportunities to more than 28,000 attendees from more than 100 countries during Le marché international des professionnels de l’immobilier (MIPIM), the world’s leading global real estate business development and networking event in Cannes, France. This year is the first time Texas REALTORS® represented Texas on this international stage.

Dallas-based REALTOR® and 2019 Texas REALTORS® Global Committee Chairman Hanne Sagalowsky is a longtime MIPIM attendee and is proud that Texas REALTORS® was represented at this year’s event. “I’ve seen North Carolina, individual cities … Georgia, New Jersey … and I always thought, ‘Where is Texas?’ I saw a real need for Texas REALTORS® to be at MIPIM alongside the others promoting economic development in their states. As a REALTOR®, economic development is something we should all be aware of and interested in.”

But how exactly does an event that took place more than 5,000 miles away from Texas affect you?

Foreign Investment Increases Local Business Opportunities

“There are people coming to MIPIM from all over the world,” says Sagalowsky. “We were there not promoting individual people, but to promote Texas.”

Socar Chatmon-Thomas, a broker in Austin and MIPIM attendee, says the goal of attending MIPIM is getting foreign investors to choose Texas. “Having investors, project managers, and developers consider Texas for their housing projects and investment dollars is crucial to our economy,” she says.

Holly Hightower, a broker associate in Tyler, feels similarly about MIPIM. “We attended because Texas has a lot to offer. We have land, tax benefits, infrastructure, and connectivity. Commercial business inspires residential business. This is fantastic for all of Texas real estate. It’s residual and expansive.”
REALTOR® expertise attracts investors’ interest

While many visitors who met with the Texas delegation were excited to get a special souvenir—a Texas-shaped lapel pin—it wasn’t pins that left a positive impression on attendees. Kimberly Bragman, a broker associate from San Antonio, says the Texas REALTORS® presence at MIPIM showed attendees the benefits of working with members of the REALTOR® association. “Because Texas REALTORS® has access to statewide data, members can provide state, citywide, or community information tailored to the specific investors we meet with,” says Bragman. “Each Texas community has different strengths and opportunities.”

Sagalowsky says foreign investors and buyers coming to the U.S. had previously focused on the East and West Coasts, but she’s seen a growing interest in Texas. “We’ve become much more attractive to investors and to buyers. One reason is because we are still somewhat more affordable, especially compared to San Francisco, Los Angeles, and the Northeast.”

What Happens After MIPIM?

The connections REALTORS® from Texas made during MIPIM are already starting to spark interest from foreign investors.

“Since the event, I have made contact with several project managers,” says Chatmon-Thomas. These contacts have asked for her help marketing properties located in their country to the U.S. market.

Hightower also says she’s been in touch with people she met at MIPIM. “We are forging relationships and communicating regarding possibilities for collaboration and investment.”

Bragman says networking that stems from attending MIPIM is a relationship-building process, but she’s already seen positive effects. “The most positive immediate outcome has been the interaction with my city’s economic development foundation and the local chambers of commerce,” she says. “They realize the opportunities from foreign investors and were anxious to hear our results and feedback. We feel that our participation continues to increase our stature as the voice of real estate to our community leaders and business organizations.”