Outlook Remains Bright for Commercial Real Estate Despite Price Plateau

Washington, D.C. – September 12, 2017 (nar.realtor) Commercial real estate price growth in large markets is expected to flatten over the next year, but strong leasing demand and investor appetite in smaller markets should keep the sector on solid ground, according to the latest National Association of Realtors® quarterly commercial real estate forecast, https://www.nar.realtor/reports/commercial-real-estate-outlook.

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Backed by the ongoing stretch of outstanding job creation in recent years, national office vacancy rates are forecast by Realtors® to retreat 1.1 percent to 11.9 percent over the coming year. The vacancy rate for industrial space is expected to decline 1.1 percent to 7.8 percent, and retail availability is to decrease 0.4 percent to 11.4 percent. Even as new apartment completions bring more supply to many markets, the multifamily sector will still likely see a vacancy rate decline from 6.6 percent to 6.1 percent.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says the U.S. economy is on stable footing and is chugging along at a decent but unspectacular pace. “A very healthy labor market and stronger confidence and spending from both consumers and businesses boosted economic expansion to a solid 3.0 percent last quarter,” he said. “There’s legs for more of the same growth to close out the year, which bodes well for sustained interest in all types of commercial space.”

According to Yun, the appetite for commercial property is high, but investment activity does appear to be entering the maturation phase of the current cycle. The investor shift away from large markets to smaller ones is creating a divergence in sales activity. In the second quarter, large markets saw a 5 percent annual decline in sales, while Realtors® reported a sales boost of 4 percent in small markets.

“While inventory shortages are still driving prices higher in most markets, shrinking cap rates and the higher interest rate environment are expected to lead to a plateau in price growth over the next year, especially for Class A assets in large markets,” said Yun. “As a result, investors will continue to look to small and tertiary markets for properties that have the best opportunity to provide stability and generate solid returns.”

Led by the industrial and multifamily sectors, Realtors® continue to report that leasing fundamentals for the four major commercial sectors are strong. Last quarter, the considerable appetite for industrial space — primarily from ecommerce and trade — resulted in distribution warehouses and logistic centers driving close to 70 percent of new construction leasing. Although 225.4 million square feet of additional space is currently in the pipeline, vacancy rates are still expected to trend downward as supply slowly catches up with demand.

In the apartment sector, the pace of new construction is finally slowing in many markets after considerable building in recent years. However, rising household formation and the supply and affordability barriers to homeownership will continue to keep vacancies low and cause rents to maintain their trajectory of outpacing incomes.

“The economy is healthy for the most part, but headwinds abound in the short term,” said Yun. “A temporary slowdown in areas severely impacted by hurricanes Harvey and Irma, geopolitical tensions abroad and any minor correction in the financial markets could temporarily knock the economy slightly off course in coming months.”

NAR’s latest Business Creation Index (BCI), which launched in August 2016, showed ongoing positive developments for smaller commercial businesses in local communities. Over half of Realtors® have reported an increase in business openings and fewer closings every month since December, with food and beverage and retail making up the bulk of new businesses.

NAR’s latest Commercial Real Estate Outlook1 offers overall projections for four major commercial sectors and analyzes quarterly data in the office, industrial, retail and multifamily markets.

The NAR commercial community includes commercial members, real estate boards, committees, subcommittees and forums; and NAR commercial affiliate organizations — CCIM Institute, Institute of Real Estate Management, Realtors® Land Institute, Society of Industrial and Office Realtors®, and Counselors of Real Estate.

Approximately 70,000 NAR members specialize in commercial real estate brokerage and related services including property management, counseling and appraisal. In addition, more than 200,000 members are involved in commercial transactions as a secondary business.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing more than 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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1. Additional analysis will be posted under Economists’ Outlook in the Research blog section of Realtor.org in coming days at: economistsoutlook.blogs.realtor.org.

The next commercial forecast and quarterly market report will be released November 15 at 10:00 a.m. ET.

The State of the U.S. Advertising Market

According to PwC’s latest Entertainment & Media Outlook, online advertising in the United States is poised for further growth in the next few years. PwC estimates that internet ad revenue could grow to $116.2 billion a year by 2021, up from $86.4 billion this year.

Fortunately for traditional media outlets, i.e. TV and radio broadcasters, newspaper and magazine publishers, advertising is not a zero sum game and a dollar spent online is not necessarily pried away from a dying newspaper. In fact, traditional media outlets are profiting from the digital ad boom themselves.

As our chart illustrates, print publishers as well as TV and radio broadcasters are expected to generate a significant chunk of their ad revenue online by 2021.

The State of the U.S. Advertising Market

The Best (And Worst) Cities for Renters

At a time when huge numbers of young people can’t afford to buy their own home, the rental market is booming. The alternative for the so-called Generation Rent isn’t exactly attractive either, though. As more and more people flock to the major cities for bigger salaries and better opportunities, property owners are able to cash in on an often out of control rental market.

The rent burden can be measured by looking at the share of the average household income that the typical rent eats into each month. As our infographic below shows, based on data from RENTCafé the worst place for renters is Mexico City. With an oppressive 60 percent of earnings going to the landlord.

Further north in the U.S., the situation isn’t too much better. With 59 percent of the average salary being poured into rent in Manhattan, the New York borough is the second worst place on the list to be a renter. Those looking to move to LA and San Francisco should be prepared to kiss goodbye to 47 and 41 percent of their pay packet, respectively. Of the cities focused on here, Chicago would be the best bet, at 38 percent.

RENTCafé’s benchmark for burden-free rent is 30 percent. With this in mind, Germany’s cool capital Berlin might be a good option. Alternatively, the city with the best ratio was found to be Kuala Lumpur. Anyone renting in the Malaysian capital will be free to spend up to as much as 80 percent of their income as they so desire.

This chart shows the share of household income required to pay rent in selected cities in 2017.

Infographic: The Best (And Worst) Cities for Renters | Statista You will find more statistics at Statista