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U.S. Commercial Real Estate Market Continues To Improve

The outlook for all of the major commercial real estate sectors is slightly improving across the country despite disappointing economic growth during the first quarter of 2014.

According to the National Association of Realtors quarterly commercial real estate forecast and its chief economist Lawrence Yun, the sluggish growth experienced in the first quarter is not indicative of the actual health of the economy.

“Gross Domestic Product should expand closer to 3% for the remainder of the year,” Yun said. “The improved lending for commercial loans and continuing job gains we’ve seen this spring bode well for modest progress in commercial real estate leases and purchases of properties.”

However, Yun cautioned that with rising long-term interest rates on the horizon, consistent economic growth is imperative to solid commercial real estate investment in the years ahead.

National vacancy rates in the office market are forecast to decline 0.2 percentage points over the coming year, while international trade gains continue to boost use for industrial space, which forecasts a decline of 0.3 points.

The outlook for personal income and consumer spending is favorable for the retail market, likely leading to a vacancy decline of 0.2%.

“The multifamily sector continues to be the top-performer in commercial real estate with the lowest vacancy rates. However, tight availability, despite new construction, is causing rents to currently rise by nearly 4% annually in many markets,” said Yun. “Many renters who are getting squeezed may begin to view home ownership as a more favorable, long-term option.”

NAR reported earlier this month in its annual “Commercial Member Profile” that despite sub-par economic expansion, Realtors who practice commercial real estate saw an increase in sales transaction volume and medium gross annual income in 2013.

NAR’s latest “Commercial Real Estate Outlook” offers overall projections for four major commercial sectors and analyzes quarterly data in the office, industrial, retail and multifamily markets. Historic data for metro areas were provided by REIS Inc., a source of commercial real estate performance information.

Office Markets
Office vacancy rates should decline from an expected 15.8% in the second quarter of this year to 15.6% in the second quarter of 2015. Currently, the markets with the lowest office vacancy rates in the second quarter are New York City and Washington, D.C., at 9.4%; Little Rock, Ark., 11.5%; San Francisco, 12.6%; and New Orleans, at 12.8%.

 

Office rents are projected to increase 2.5% in 2014 and 3.2% next year. Net absorption of office space in the U.S., which includes the leasing of new space coming on the market as well as space in existing properties, is likely to total 39.7 million square feet this year and 49.8 million in 2015.

 

Industrial Markets
Industrial vacancy rates are anticipated to fall from 9.0% in the second quarter to 8.7% in the second quarter of 2015.

The areas with the lowest industrial vacancy rates currently are Orange County, Calif., with a vacancy rate of 3.5%; Los Angeles, 3.9%; Miami and Seattle, 6.0%, and Palm Beach, Fla., at 6.5%.

Annual industrial rents should rise 2.4% this year and 2.6% in 2015. Net absorption of industrial space nationally is seen at 107.8 million square feet in 2014 and 107.1 million next year.

Retail Markets
Vacancy rates in the retail market are expected to decline from 10.0% currently to 9.8% in the second quarter of 2015.

Presently, markets with the lowest retail vacancy rates include San Francisco, at 3.2%; Fairfield County, Conn., 3.8%; and San Jose, Calif., at 4.7%. Northern New Jersey; Long Island, N.Y.; and Orange County, Calif., all have a vacancy rate of 5.3%.

Average retail rents are forecast to rise 2.0% in 2014 and 2.3% next year. Net absorption of retail space is likely to total 11.5 million square feet this year and 19.6 million in 2015.

Multifamily Markets
The apartment rental market (multifamily housing) should see vacancy rates edge up from 4.0% in the second quarter to 4.1% in the second quarter of 2015, with added supply helping to meet growing demand. Vacancy rates below 5% are generally considered a landlord’s market, with demand justifying higher rent.

Areas with the lowest multifamily vacancy rates currently are New Haven, Conn., at 2.3%; Ventura County, Calif., 2.4%; and New York City; San Diego; Hartford, Conn.; Oakland-East Bay, Calif., and San Diego, at 2.5% each.

Average apartment rents are projected to rise 4.0% this year and in 2015. Multifamily net absorption is expected to total 221,400 units in 2014 and 173,100 next year.

The story was originally published on Pleasanton Weekly.

About The Sundance Company
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

The Stability of Commercial Real Estate

When the U.S. housing market boomed and busted in the past decade, commercial real estate was comparatively placid. Prices were more stable, there was little overbuilding, and bankruptcies never soared. The question is why. A research paper attributes the stability of commercial real estate at least in part to the “civilizing influence” of real estate investment trusts, which are a bigger presence in the market than they are in housing.

“REITs played a central role” in discouraging speculation in commercial real estate of the kind that led to doom in housing, write the authors. “Commercial markets stayed in balance throughout the biggest real estate bubble in the United States since the 1920s.”

The study, which appeared in the Journal of Portfolio Management, is by Frank Packer, head of economics and financial markets for the Bank for International Settlements in Hong Kong; Timothy Riddiough, a real estate professor at the University of Wisconsin Business School; and Jimmy Shek, a BIS statistical analyst. The article appeared in the journal last year but hasn’t received much attention outside REIT circles.

The authors’ hypothesis is that REITs increase the transparency of the real estate market, allowing investors to spot overvaluation or undervaluation quickly. If a big construction project is announced in, say, Los Angeles, and REIT prices fall, that’s a signal to other builders and lenders that L.A. could be getting overbuilt. It helps that REITs are ongoing concerns that have a strong incentive to be perceived as reliable because “management reputation and consistency over time are critical to continued affordable access to capital markets.”

The proof of the hypothesis, the researchers say, is that overshoots and undershoots of construction in the U.S. office building market were more moderate at times when REITs had a bigger market share. They presume that the rest of the market pays more attention to the REITs at times when their market share is bigger. To zero in on the impact of REITs’ market share, they held constant two other factors that might affect office building construction, namely the prices of buildings and the cost of construction. Similar effects were found in other commercial real estate sectors in the U.S., as well as with office buildings in Japan.

That’s not a perfect demonstration because other, unseen factors could have affected the construction of office buildings over time that the researchers didn’t measure. The authors acknowledge that markets have also moderated in European and Asian countries that don’t have well-developed REIT markets. The case would have been stronger if the researchers had shown big differences in metro areas, based on their relative REIT penetration, but Riddiough tells me that “getting that level of detail was problematic for us.” Says Riddiough: “We’re the first ones who have done something like this. That said, there’s better ways to do it.”

The chart at the top of this article shows prices, not construction volumes, for single-family homes and office properties. The scale is set so that each index has a value of 100 at its lowest point after the financial crisis.

Riddiough is a member of the investment advisory council of the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts, but he says that his research was conducted independently and none of the researchers received support from the REIT industry. “They knew nothing about this research until I finished the paper.”

No surprise, though, that NAREIT likes the results. “The Riddiough, Packer, Shek study makes it clear that REITs provide real benefits for the broader commercial real estate industry, for investors and for our nation’s economy,” NAREIT Chair Ronald Havner Jr., who is chairman, president and chief executive officer of Public Storage, wrote in REIT Magazine earlier this year.

The story was originally published on BusinessWeek.

About The Sundance Company
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

 

Commercial Property Transaction Volume on Course to Reach a 10-Year High by 2016

A new U.S. real estate forecast based on a survey of 39 of the industry’s leading economists and analysts predicts that commercial property transaction volume will reach $430 billion by 2016, exceeding the volume of 2006. The latest multi-year outlook (covering 2014 through 2016) from the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and EY projects steady growth for the U.S. economy; sustained strength from real estate capital markets; and continued improvement in both commercial real estate fundamentals and the housing sector.

The findings were released today in the semi-annual ULI/E&Y Real Estate Consensus Forecast, prepared by the ULI Center for Capital Markets and Real Estate. The survey, conducted between February 19 and March 14, 2014, is the fifth in a series of polls conducted to gauge sentiment among economists and analysts about the direction of the real estate industry.

The latest forecast is more optimistic than the previous one from October 2013. Although survey respondents moderated their expectations for the housing sector – the latest forecast projects housing starts will remain below the twenty-year annual average through 2016 — the overall industry outlook remains positive. The issuance of commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS), a key source of financing for commercial real estate, is expected to continue its rebound with consistent growth through 2016.  Hotel occupancy rates are expected to continue improving, while vacancy rates are expected to decrease modestly for office, retail, and industrial properties.  In addition, the forecast expects a turn-around in 2014 with retail rental rates, turning positive for the first time since 2007.

“Respondents to the Consensus Forecast survey project consistent growth in the real estate industry, bringing some key factors back to pre-recession levels and others moderating to long-term averages,” said Anita Kramer, vice president, ULI Center for Capital Markets and Real Estate. “Fundamentals beyond multi-family continue to improve with the retail sector now joining in. This overall outlook for real estate is supported by expected on-going improvements in the economy.”

Howard Roth, global real estate leader for EY, commented, “Although we’ve made significant improvement over the past year, the recovery has been uneven globally and many risks still exist, including high global unemployment, high government debt, deflationary pressure in advanced economies, weak domestic demand, capital flow volatility in emerging markets and the potential impact from Fed tapering in the US. Still, all signs point to a continued gradual improvement in both the economy and real estate market fundamentals.”

The Consensus Forecast expects the overall economy to continue expanding a rate equivalent to the 20-year average. Gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to grow by 2.8 percent in 2014 and then 3.0 percent in both 2015 and 2016. Survey respondents predict that employment will grow by over 7.5 million jobs in the next three years. The unemployment rate is expected to fall to 6.3 percent by the end of the year, 6.0 by the end of 2015, and 5.8 percent by the end of 2016.

Inflation is expected to grow by 1.9 percent in 2014, and then increase by 2.2 percent in 2015, followed by 2.5 percent in 2016. At the same time, ten-year treasury rates are projected to continue moving up, reaching 3.4 percent by the end of 2014, 4.0 percent by the end of 2015, and 4.4 percent by the end of 2016. Even though treasury rates will increase borrowing costs for real estate investors, survey respondents do not expect these  changes to substantially impact real estate capitalization rates for institutional quality investments (NCREIF capitalization rates), which are expected to remain at 5.7 percent in 2014 and then rise to 5.9 percent in 2015 and 6.2 percent in 2016.

Prices and total returns for commercial real estate investments are projected to increase at moderate rates. Institutional real estate assets are expected to provide total returns of 9.4 percent in 2014, moderating slightly up to 8.5 percent by 2016. NCREIF total returns in 2014 are expected to be fairly consistent across property types with retail and industrial at 10 percent, followed by office and apartments at 9 percent. Total office returns are expected to remain at 9 percent by 2016, while retail, industrial, and apartments are all expected to moderate downward.

The Consensus Forecast survey findings, by commercial property type, are listed below:

  • Apartments – The Consensus Forecast expects end of year vacancy rates to rise slightly to 5 percent in 2014, 5.2 percent in 2015, and 5.3 percent in 2016.  Apartment rental growth rate, which slowed in 2013 after two years of significant growth, is expected to slightly increase in 2014 to 2.7 percent and then moderate to 2.3 percent in 2015 and 2.2 in 2016.
  • Industrial/warehouse – Decreases in the industrial/warehouse sector are expected to continue but at a slower pace. Vacancy rates are projected to go from 11.3 percent in 2013 to 10.7 percent in 2014, 10.3 percent in 2015, and 10.1 percent by the end of 2016. According to CBRE, the sector’s rental growth rate was strong in 2013 at 3.6 percent.  The Consensus Forecast projects continued growth of 3.8 percent in 2014 and 3.7 percent in 2015 before moderating to 3.0 percent in 2016.
  • Office – Office vacancy rates declined for the third straight year to 14.9 percent in 2013 and are expected to continue at the same pace, decreasing to 14.3 percent in 2014, 13.7 percent in 2015, and 13.1 percent by the end of 2016. Survey respondents foresee a healthy and continued growth in office rental rates through 2016. According to the Consensus Forecast, office rental rates will increase by 3 percent in 2014, 3.9 percent in 2015, and 3.6 percent in 2016.
  • Retail – Retail availability rates decreased in 2013; however, the Consensus Forecast anticipates modest improvements over the next three years, with availability rates expected to decline to 11.5 percent by 2014, 11.1 percent by 2015, and 10.8 percent by 2016. CBRE reported a decline in retail rental rates for the past six year; however, survey respondents foresee a turn-around in 2014 with rental rates increasing by 1.9 percent, 2.5 percent in 2015, and 3 percent 2016.
  • Hotel – Hotel occupancy rates are expected to continue their steady improvement, with the 2016 projection surpassing the pre-recession peak in 2006. The Consensus Forecast projects that hotel occupancy rates will continue to strengthen, rising to 63.1 percent in 2014, 63.6 percent in 2015, and 63.8 percent by 2016. The strong growth in hotel revenue per available room (RevPAR) of the last four years is expected to continue, remaining above the long-term average annual growth rate but decelerating, with growth of 5 percent in 2014, 4.7 percent in 2015, and 4 percent in 2016.

About The Sundance Company
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

 

Where is Commercial Real Estate (CRE) Going in The Next 3 Years?

CRE is changing.  It’s taken longer than many thought but the winds of change keep blowing and they are finally reaching us.  This isn’t going to be an examination of technology specifically but an examination of trends, desires, impacts and what it means to all of us who make a living in CRE. From where I sit there are four main topics:

  • One service is not enough – the entire CRE world is interconnected.
  • Organizations internally changing at a rapid pace.
  • Outsourcing trends continue to accelerate but not in expected ways.
  • One-off transactions and projects grow in prominence but also in expectations.

These four embody most of the change that is taking place.  While the biggest players in CRE continue to grow there is also continued growth of regional, boutique and independent organizations.  This is because the focus of all customers has shifted to excellence in delivery as their key driver in selecting a provider.  You must either be able to deliver the best, most complete solution (be very big) or deliver the best, most comprehensive solution to a single problem (know more about your market, the asset and data than anyone else).  So you must be big or hyper-local.

Good luck if you get stuck in the middle.  There’s no room there at the moment.  You are too big to be hyper-local and too small to do everything.

This is also putting price pressures on all service providers from both ends.  Big organizations can include services (Facility Management, Project Management, Technology, Consulting, Account Management, Brokerage, etc.) at discounts because there is more than one revenue stream.  And the smaller, local organizations can discount their projects because they have fewer overheads than the bigger players.

Then take a look at the non-traditional players that are looking to disrupt the industry.  Tech firms have started to discover the inefficiencies we have and are creating companies to deal with them.  42Floors, HonestBuildings and a growing list of others are entering and seeing success.  They may be occasionally enabling the status quo but if you assume that will remain the case be ready for a rude awakening.

Welcome to the changing world of CRE.

The story was originally published on Box Thoughts.

About The Sundance Company
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

 

The Right Office Building For Any Business

When it comes to office buildings, you generally get what you pay for, but first you need to know what you want. Colliers International Workplace Strategist David McEwen shares his guide to selecting the office building right for your business.

Defining your requirements starts with a solid understanding of your business strategy and a well formed workplace strategy, identifying who is going to occupy the building and how they will use it. Prioritizing your requirements (other than cost and lease terms) can be broken down into these broad categories:

1. Risk Mitigation

What is the risk profile of the business activities to be undertaken?

What is the impact of unexpected loss of power, phones or data circuits?

What is the security profile of the operation? Is it at elevated risk of industrial espionage, theft, hacking / social engineering attempts, or public protest?

Is the building in close proximity to any location specific hazards?

2. Spatial Needs

Will the floor plates, core placement, column grid, ceiling heights and features like internal atria work for your business?

Are there any groups requiring high levels of floor space density such as call centers or clerical processing teams? Or are there areas where typical occupancy may be higher than expected, such as non-territorial environments?

Conversely what’s the expectation for the density of built zones such as personal offices and meeting rooms?

How large are your various teams? How much do their sizes vary and what are their needs for interaction and collaboration?

How long is the facility required and what are the expectations for changes in team sizes, work practices and technology over that period?

3. Building Performance

Will capacity, sustainability (eg. energy and water efficiency) and other characteristics of the various building services including electrical supply, air conditioning plant, telecommunications risers and elevators meet your business needs?

What are the operating hours? Is shift work undertaken? Will the building’s plant be able to service your needs efficiently outside normal business hours?

Is there to be a computer room or data center? Does it host applications or web services used by customers or users in other sites? Does it need to be on site?

Are there any specialist requirements such as labs or clean rooms?

Do you require particular delivery access or garaging? Do you have areas requiring high floor loading?

4. Amenity

Is the building located close to a public transport hub? If not, is adequate car parking available?

Are there end of trip facilities like secure bicycle parking, shower and locker services to support employees’ lifestyle choices?

Does it provide access to cafés, banking facilities, other retail, gyms and child care facilities nearby?

5. Cosmetic appeal

Will appearance and fit out standards for the building exterior, lobbies, lifts, bathrooms, and the floor and ceiling finishes within the proposed tenancy area align with your brand?

What types of employees are you trying to attract? What will they look for in a building?

What is the profile of visitors or clients attending the site? What are their expectations? Are signage rights important?

Armed with this information you can start to prepare your property brief and prioritize your requirements. In practice it’s a complex juggling act with many traps for the unwary. At the outset, it is useful to assemble a team of internal and external specialists headed by an experienced Project Director, typically covering the following disciplines:

While this sounds like a long list, a good Project Director will help ensure timely and efficient inputs from the necessary experts to develop the right strategy and property brief, and provide effective due diligence on short listed sites.

The story was originally published on Colliers International.

 

About The Sundance Company
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

3 Ways to Maintain Work-Life Balance While Staying Connected

In an increasingly mobile environment with a business clock that runs 24-7, many entrepreneurs use their smartphones and tablets to stay connected to both their customers and business partners no matter where they are.

“A lot of small businesses deal with other small businesses, so it’s important to communicate when it works for both parties,” said Mike Pugh, vice president of marketing at digital business solutions provider j2 Global. “It might be early in the morning, late at night, or on a lunch hour. You need to be able to take a message and access information to keep a deal in motion.”

However, just because you can be reached constantly through your mobile devices doesn’t mean you should be. “You should avoid being available all the time to everyone, or available to no one,” Pugh told Business News Daily. “Use technology to make yourself accessible in the right ways to the right people at the right time.”

Pugh offered the following mobile tech strategies to help people stay accessible while still maintaining their work-life balance:

1) Take your time and single-task. With online faxing and a digitized signature, you can send an important fax from anywhere while you’re doing other things. But when you multitask, you’re far more likely to make errors. Step away from what you’re doing so you can give the business task your undivided attention.

2) Don’t take calls unless it’s quiet. Projecting professionalism and seriousness is just as important as being responsive. Before you take or return an important call from a prospect while you’re out of the office, make sure you’re in a quiet environment first.

3) Find solutions that work on any platform. You need to be able to use whatever device  is available to you at the time to conduct your business. The software and programs you choose to run your operations should behave the same way on your phone, tablet and desktop.

The story was originally published on Business News Daily.

About The Sundance Company
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

Can A Company Use Instagram To Share Their Story and Build Their Business?

Instagram is a photo sharing service available as an easy to download application for any Android or iOS powered device. The photos captured can be shared on Facebook, Twitter and even Tumblr too. It is time for businesses to understand that this social sharing platform is here to stay. So how can a business use Instagram to share their story?

Build an Identity
Start snapping photos of your business. Once you’re ready to post your first image, you’ll be able to add a location if it is not already listed.

Try uploading photos of interesting aspects of the store or products, or share images of things the people who shop your business care about. You’ll be amazed at the response when you start sharing your perspective. Visuals speak louder than words.

Use Hashtags to Build a Following
What’s the point of taking a great photograph if no one will notice it? Celebrate your active brand advocates by deciding on a short, easy to type phrase that people can include in their tweets. For example Adidas used the hashtag “#thereturn” to celebrate the return of Derrick Rose. They even made it a predominate design element on their website for D Rose.

With the use of these hashtags you can monitor conversations focused around your brand by using the Twitter search feed or directly displaying these photos using the Instagram API on your website. Make sure to include any legal terms and conditions related to the use of the publically shared content. In the footer of their website, Adidas informed people: * If you send us a Tweet, or use our hashtag “#TheReturn” on Twitter and Instagram, you consent to letting adidas and Derrick Rose use your content and handle, in any media. If you opt in to our Facebook application All In For D Rose by adidas you also consent to letting adidas use your customized Facebook image in any media. Fan based media can be shared cross-platform allowing you to successfully use Instagram for marketing and to increase brand loyalty through the instant gratification of social likes.

Find Your Advocates
Snap a photo using Instagram and then select that you’d like to add a Photo Map. You’ll be prompted to “name a place”. This is where you’ll see a list of available locations based on your GPS location. Once you find your business, select it as the location and then upload your photo. Once uploaded you’ll be able to click on the location as a hyperlink and browse the gallery of photos other people have tagged for that same location.

Find anything interesting? Follow that individual and you’re on your way to building your community.

About The Sundance Company
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.