Through the Looking Glass (Part 3) – Commercial Real Estate in 2015

Possibilities Road Sign with blue sky and cloudAs we dove into 2015’s waters, investment capital stats were already at in influx. The US has traditionally been a favorite depository for said capital. With US Treasury Rates on a decline due to demand and  the US Stock Exchange experiencing new elevations, commercial real estate is an attractive invitation for both foreign and domestic investors. The evidence of this is the growth of overall commercial property transactions in the US by foreign investors has now arrived at a level that we haven’t seen since 2006/2007. Firms aim a close eye at interest rates and market stability as they compare these current statistics with historical data. The timing for interest increases is concerning for most, and whether long term and short term rates will increase in a united or disjointed manner. A majority of soothsayers, (correction: forecasters), hold the belief that the Federal Reserve will raise  rates Summer of 2015. Out of the estimated $5 trillion plus capital invested in the United States, over $3 trillion is debt-driven. Commercial real estate loans are steadily gaining as per the Feds, with private equities and REIT’s in the lead. There is speculation that we will see a “re-do” of 2006 where large sums will be reinvested into #cre in 2015 if all goes according to pattern. Is your brokerage positioned for these potential opportunities? Are you as an investor positioned to take advantage of this stimulative climate and seize the day?

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Through the Looking Glass (Part 1) – Commercial Real Estate in 2015

MirrorMirrorWell it is that time again when the economists, financiers, commercial real estate execs and genies make their predictions for the New Year. As predicted by the Delloitte Center for Financial Services, rents and vacancies showed improvement, development pressed pause, REIT’s and foreign investment led the charge in activity, the standards for CRE lending were allayed and leasing was partially determined by tenant’s use of technology. The majority of sources remain positive regarding 2015’s outcome.

We have good news on the unemployment sector. The majority of the US saw a downturn in unemployment. That evidence includes those that vacated the workforce. For 2014, here are the stats:

States where unemployment experienced an annual increase:

  • Alaska
  • Louisiana
  • North Dakota
  • Vermont
  • W Virginia
  • Wyoming

States that experienced no change:

  • DC
  • Iowa
  • Oregon
  • Virginia

While Puerto Rico’s unemployment decreased, they still hold the highest unemployment rate at 14 percent.  The average in the nation in December was 5.69 according to NCSL data.

Alice_through_the_looking_glassThe prevailing inclinations as we gaze “through the looking glass” are:

  • Enduring returns of REIT’s
  • Expanded funding sources on a global scale
  • GDP growth trend
  • Investment transactions rise
  • Construction Industry gradual recovery
  • Technology advances
  • Industrial property development growth
  • Suburban markets making a comeback

queensThe potential perils and pitfalls foreseen in wonderland, pardon me, CRE-land include currently delayed, yet inevitable Treasury rate escalations, federal regulatory ambivalence, the predicted plunge in US labor force growth two years from now, aging infrastructure and vacillating energy prices.

In Through the Looking Glass (Part 2) we will further explore the nuts and bolts of the industry findings…stay tuned.

Resources:

Deloitte Center for Financial Services, Deloitte Development LLC, 2014 “2015 Commercial Real Estate Outlook”

Urban Land Institute & PWC, “Emerging Trends in Real Estate – US and Canada 2015”

National Conference of State Legislatures, http://www.ncsl.org/research/labor-and-employment/2014-state-unemployment-rates.aspx, December 19, 2014

PA Acquisitions News – CrossAmerica Partners LP and CST Brands

new-name-slideAn Allentown company, CrossAmerica Partners LP and its partner CST Brands Inc have conjoined in an agreement for the purchase of Erickson Oil Products Inc. and specific related assets. CrossAmerica is a leader in wholesale distribution of motor fuels. This $85M deal will allow CrossAmerica to initially operate all of the Freedom Valu convenience stores, but is expected to transfer the operations over a period of time. Gary Vander Vorst, President of Erickson Oil feels that this acquisitions will promote Erickson’s growth and cause it to be more competitive. This opportunity has also opened new doors to new markets for CST and CrossAmerica. The transaction is scheduled to close in the first quarter of 2015.

CAP

(Photos Courtesy of CrossAmericaPartners.com)

Care to Dance?

When analyzing the current economy and market conditions, often times Commercial Real Estate and Residential Real Estate are assimilated in the reports. Although similar, they are often found dancing to different “tunes” on the same dance floor. What I mean by this is that although they are operating simultaneously in a wavering economy, they are distinct, which has allowed for the Commercial Real Estate industry to “creatively” overcome and seek sustenance in other ways that the housing market does not provide. Some examples of those new dance steps are:
REIT Running Man:
REIT’s are pushing for rent increases on multi-units, due to apartment and housing turnover trends at record lows due to inability to acquire mortgages. Public REIT’s are said to be paying yields in the 3.5% range. If you shift to the private sector, you can expect somewhere in the 8’s. Commercial Real Estate can also be considered an inflation hedge.

Buy or Build Butterfly:
Large Developers are focusing on new construction retail projects while some remain conservative favoring property acquisitions. When considering an acquisition, take a careful look beyond the cash flow. What will the rent income be when the current leases terminate? Novice investors miss this all of the time. Commercial Real Estate as a whole is driven by jobs, particularly the office and industrial sector. Consumer spending drives retail. Although the multi-unit industry has made remarkable improvement, we see a need to shrink the chasm between new construction costs and trending rental rates.

Land Limbo:
Buying land in the current market can be sketchy at best. Land with approvals, availability of utilities and located within the “right market”…it’s like trying to find a customized car with all of your wish list features off the lot of the used car dealer. Before jumping in with both feet, most investors are considering several items of interest when performing their due diligence:
Demand – What is the demand for the project?
Dinero – What will my ROI be and how far out can I expect my rate of return?
Domination – What bureaucratic hullabaloo will I have to endure to gain the “blessing” to execute this project and how long will it take to come to fruition? Also, will you be able to sell the property when you are ready to? What will it take?

The Lean,..oh I mean GREEN wit it, Rock wit it:
As an owner/investor, green solutions can potentially provide tenant attraction and maximize your property value. Applying Green initiatives to your current property can influence negotiations, improve operations and sustainability, boost tenancy and rent rates, improve the property to optimize sales price and attract “green” buyers.