Jean-Nicolas Montrieux (INOWAI) Real estate reflects growth
According to Jean-Nicolas Montrieux, Partner & COO of INOWAI, the firm and the real estate sector have experienced growth similar to that of Luxembourg over the last twenty years. However they now both face similar future challenges.
INOWAI celebrates its 20th anniversary. How have you changed over these two decades?
Our development has been gradual, with a major turning point in 2010. For the first ten years, we focused on professional real estate, before then adding a residential component to our activity. We have therefore continued to develop our skills at a steady pace around these two asset classes, and their contribution to our balance sheet will be almost equal over the coming years. In twenty years, our workforce has grown steadily, from one or two employees to 70 now, thus gradually growing our know-how. Having knowledge of both business lines adds significant value for our customers. It means we are involved in management and transaction activities, while in the residential sector we act as co-ownership trustees, provide rental management services and representing the owner. For professional real estate, we take care of building management. Transaction activities range from the simple rental of an apartment to the marketing of a complete project, including the land. We can deploy our multiple levels of skill in all these activities.
“The next twenty years will see profound changes in the way we work, travel and live. INOWAI will be there during all these changes.”
How do you see the future of real estate in Luxembourg?
The last twenty years have seen continuous development of the real estate sector, in parallel with the steadily growing financial centre, thanks in particular to the fund industry. In this favourable context, the market has expanded rapidly, both the rental and sale of commercial and residential property. In six years, the city of Luxembourg grew from 100,000 to 120,000 inhabitants, but it remains a small city by international standards. I therefore foresee a continuation of this growth, with consolidation and deepening of the market, and even more opportunities for market players. The management of real estate projects is becoming increasingly complex, with the advent of new neighbourhoods, and new thinking about our urban spaces. Real estate is central to so many aspects of our lives, and the next twenty years will see considerable changes in the way we work, travel and live. Our sector will keep pace with these evolutions. We have already negotiated the shift towards digital working. Since the opening of a real estate agency in Belval, in collaboration with Lalux Assurances, we have been more effective in how we work in the Esch-sur-Alzette region.
What challenges and opportunities do you identify for INOWAI and Luxembourg in the next five years?
Internally, INOWAI must meet the challenge of managing its own growth, as running a business with 70 employees is a different proposition to managing 20. Appropriate management structures must be put in place. Externally, we must adapt to face increasingly fierce yet stimulating competition. Luxembourg, has the same twofold challenge. The country's impressive development must meet various infrastructure, mobility and human cohesion needs. The authorities must also ensure a competitive regulatory framework compared to the global market. Wages remain high, but this will not be a handicap as long as productivity remains high too, but there is a risk of the unknown. As for INOWAI, I know that digitalization will play a key role in this process. The great challenge ahead also lies in ensuring access to housing for all. This is increasingly being blocked, as despite high levels of income, property prices have jumped 15% in the last two years.