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Minnesota Commercial Real Estate Outlook Shows More Signs of Optimism

Spring 2019 – Minnesota Commercial Real Estate Outlook Shows More Signs of Optimism for the Upcoming Two Years

The May 2019 University of St. Thomas / Minnesota Commercial Real Estate Survey is continuing to show to show changes in the sentiment of our panelists as they look out over the next two years. The biannual survey projects a two-year ahead outlook for Minnesota’s commercial real estate industry and forecasts potential opportunities and challenges affecting all commercial real estate sectors.

As was done with all sixteen of our previous surveys, the same group of 50 commercial real estate industry leaders involved in development, finance, and investment were polled regarding their expectations of near-term future commercial real estate activity. The decisions that these industry leaders are making today will determine what the CRE markets will look like two years from now.

Spring 2019 Results

Observations from May 2019 have recorded several notable changes in the panel’s expectations when compared to the previous survey conducted in Fall 2018. “There is still some concern that we are near the top of the cycle and that overbuilding and increased vacancies may occur in some product types and submarkets.” says Herb Tousley, Director of the Real Estate Programs at the University of St Thomas. “While our composite index for late 2021 remains slightly pessimistic, there are some bright spots worth noting. There is no expectation of a major downturn in the commercial real estate market in the Twin Cities within the next two years. The increase in online shopping, low interest rates, changes in housing trends and the continued redefinition of the office environment will remain major factors in the performance of commercial real estate in the coming two years.”

The panelists are very concerned about the expected increase in the cost of land and building materials and its expected impact on values and expected returns for developers and investors. There was a big change in the index for investor’s return expectations. It increased 9 points moving from a pessimistic level moving to slightly optimistic territory. This is a big change in sentiment since our last survey. It appears that our panel now expects interest rates to remain stable at current low rates. While our respondents are not expecting a major downturn, they are more somewhat concerned about where we are in the market cycle.

Index values greater than 50 represent a more optimistic view of the market over the next two years, with values of less than 50 indicating a more pessimistic view. More detailed information about each of the individual indices may be found below.

The individual indexes are detailed below:

Rent Expectations

The outlook for rental rates is essentially unchanged from our last survey. Market conditions expected in early 2021 are best described by the price for space (rental rates) and the supply of space (occupancy levels). The index for rental rates was 63 compared to 62 six months ago. This means the panel continues to be strongly optimistic in its expection of continued rent growth. The panel’s sentiment is that the economy will continue to grow and that business conditions will continue improve creating more competition for commercial space.

 Occupancy

The outlook for occupancy levels continues to be moderately pessimistic moving from 43 to a slightly less pessimistic 45. This indicates the panelist’s belief that occupancy levels and space absorption may not remain at current levels during the next two years. As a great deal of new product continues to be delivered, the panel is beginning to be concerned about the market’s ability to absorb the new space. This is especially noticeable in the multi-family and certain office and industrial segments. It is a continuation of a general trend that began 4 ½ years ago. Businesses expect to continue to grow but they are concentrating on reducing their cost of occupancy by doing more with less space.

Land Price Expectations

The rate of increase in land prices is expected to accelerate. The land price index has decreased (become more pessimistic) in the current survey moving from 46 last December to 40 this spring. Although, the lowest point for the index was recorded at 31 in the fall 2013 survey, a score of 40 for this index indicates increasing concern about the rapid rise of land prices. Since land prices are a major component of project costs, any increase has a great deal of impact. Higher land prices are a hindrance to new development, making it more difficult to obtain financing and adequate returns for investors.

Building Material Price Expectations

There is a continued expectation that increases in the price of building materials will continue to increase. The index for the price of building supplies remains strongly negative, moving from 26 in December 2018 to 32 in May 2019. The panel believes that commodity prices for lumber, concrete, steel and many of the other materials used in construction will continue to increase due to shortages and newly imposed tariffs. Since building materials are a major cost component of any development project any increases in prices will make it difficult to provide adequate returns on future developments.

Return on Investment Expectations

Our panel expects that investors return on investment expectations will remain constant. The index for investor’s return expectations made a big move, increasing from a pessimistic 42 to a slightly optimistic 51. This indicates that investors will be expecting to maintain their expected returns. The consensus among survey respondents indicates that investors will not be seeking higher returns in the next two years due to their expectation of stable interest rates. The panel’s concern remains about market fundamentals over the next two years. Investors will continue to seek out quality investments, but they will be much more diligent about how they price risk, evaluate projects and developer/sponsors when they evaluate potential return when considering their investment options.

Lending Expectations

Equity and loan to value requirements are not expected to increase. The index for the amount of equity required by lenders remained unchanged from our last survey at 41. That recorded level is somewhat pessimistic but, now that appears interest rates have moderated and are expected to stay that way, the panel’s belief that is even if interest rates were to increase moderately credit will still be available for good projects. However, they expect lenders will continue be more risk adverse by tightening their underwriting criteria in the coming two years.

 

 

 

 

 

Economics, Home Prices, Housing, Housing Trends, Investment Real Estate, Minneapolis / St. Paul Housing, Real Estate Brokerage, Real Estate Trends, Residential Real Estate, Technology, Twin Cities Real Estate

iBuyers are Changing The Landscape of the Housing Market

April 2019

University of St Thomas Twin Cities Housing Market Update

What is an iBuyer?

An iBuyer is a company, in many cases an institutional investor, that will make an offer on your home within hours (or days) based on a proprietary valuation model. If you choose to accept the offer, you can close the sale in as little as a couple of days. The recent big news in the Twin Cities market is that last Monday Zillow began offering its Zillow Offers service to home sellers in the Twin Cities. The Twin Cities is the 10th metro area in the nation where they are offering this service. In addition to Zillow there are a number of local and national iBuyers here already with a number of new companies on the way.

How is the iBuying process different?

Traditionally, home values are calculated by using recent comparable sales of similar homes in the nearby area. The issue is that no two homes are identical and adjustments need to be made to account for the differences. Some of these adjustments are hard to calculate and can be somewhat subjective. Many of the newer, well capitalized iBuyers use “automated valuation models” or algorithms using computers to process massive amounts of home sales data to arrive at a value. Based on that value and information that home sellers upload about their homes they can close a sale in as little as a few days. There are some iBuyers may require a visual inspection by a local real estate partner.

Is iBuying the apocalypse for traditional agents and brokers?

The short answer is No. Nationally, in 2018, iBuyers accounted for 0.2 percent market share. At this point, even in markets where iBuyers has been operating longer they are only accounting for 3 – 6% of the sales volume. As more home sellers become more familiar and comfortable with the iBuying process that percentage will undoubtably increase. While a few iBuyers work directly with home sellers many of the iBuyer’s business models include working with and paying commissions to local real estate partners. Additionally, local Realtors do have the advantage of local market knowledge and are able to spot emerging neighborhood trends. As an example, look at what happened to the travel industry when technology made travel booking information directly available to individuals. At the time some were saying that it would be the end of travel agents. In reality travel agents have survived, however the industry has consolidated, become more sophisticated and has changed the way it does business.

Should I use an iBuyer?, What is the cost?, What is the Value Proposition?

Sellers are looking for a faster, simpler, less stressful way to sell their home. They want the process to be more efficient. Not all iBuyers offer the same services, some are full service, they want to be able to offer a one stop experience. Their process works like buying a car where you can buy a car, trade in your car, obtain financing and insurance all in one place. Since the larger iBuyers are buying and selling homes all the time, their business model works well taking trade ins. There others in the market who offer varying levels of service including those at the other end of the service spectrum who will only buy your home.

Average commissions using an iBuyer are about 7%, additionally their offer is discounted below fair market value. They expect to make necessary repairs and make a profit when they sell the home. In contrast commissions are about 5% – 6% for traditional sale listings. Sellers need to consider the trade off between convenience and maximum offer price.

The following are situations where a seller may consider using an iBuyer;

  • If the purchase of your next home requires the sale of your current home, you may need access to the equity tied up in your current home. Many Americans can’t quality for two mortgages at the same time meaning they have to sell their current home before they buy the next one. In today’s tight housing market contingent on sale offers are rarely successful.
  • If you can’t or don’t want to do the work to repair or upgrade your property before you sell.
  • If you’re moving to a new city and need to be on the job ASAP, you may not have time to wait for your home to sell
  • You’ve inherited a home you don’t want to own or manage

iBuying can provide a quick cash option but this speed and convenience comes at a price. In many cases a local agent may be able to get you a higher price for your home if you have the time available. Is it worth it? That depends on your priorities and circumstances.

There is more to come

Look for more large iBuying companies to come to town. Much of recent iBuying activity is being driven by multi-billion dollar organizations. In addition to Opendoor, who entered the Twin Cities market last fall, there will be other new arrivals such as Knock, OfferPad and Redfin. With technology advancing at such a rapid rate there will be more concepts and companies entering the market like Ribbon and Eave that work on the other side of the transaction helping buyers compete with cash offers.

Business Valuation, Development, Investment Real Estate

Do you need some leisure time?

Last week the Minnesota Business Journal reported, Lutsen Resort, a staple of Minnesota tourism for over 125 years, went on the market for just under 10 million dollars. However, it is not the first resort in the Great North to go on the market recently. The Star Tribune reports Gunflint Lodge sold for over 6 million dollars and Superior Shores and Resort, just south of Lutsen, in Two Harbors is also currently on the market.

Is this a trend? Why are resorts going on the market? Should consumers be worried about their options for North Shore leisure?

Herb Tousley, of the University of St. Thomas’ Shenehon Center for Real Estate, commented that these resorts often times require a “hands-on”  approach to management of the site. He also noted, “due to this approach, many owners see the opportunity to sell, in what they perceive to be, a high value market in order to exit the business.”

Statistics from the U.S. Travel Association show that domestic leisure travel is up from 2 billion trips in 2007 to 2.28 billion trips reported in 2016. More specifically, the Minnesota average household income has returned to pre-recession levels at $79,893. The private sector employment numbers (FRED) also seem to indicate the economy is in relatively good health. These indicators are great for resorts and the hospitality industry in general. Even with the ominous question of, “are we due for an economic adjustment?” It is not a predictable event. From general market signs, a resort may be an investment for some leisure.

 

Shenehon Center for Real Estate has been enabled Graduate level Business and an Undergraduate Major program in real estate for more than 15 years. The University of St. Thomas is dedicated to creating leaders who are morally responsible, think critically, act wisely, and work skillfully to advance the common good. 

 

 

Affordable Housing, Development, Economics, Home Prices, Housing, Housing Trends, Industry News, Investment Real Estate, Minneapolis / St. Paul Housing, Real Estate Trends, Residential Real Estate, Residential Real Estate Index, Twin Cities Real Estate

September’s Housing Market Key Benchmarks Running Well Ahead of Last Year

A new emerging build-to-rent trend coming soon to the Minneapolis/ St. Paul Market Market Report

Strong housing-market benchmarks – including home prices and the number of sales – have continued well into the fall season across the 13-county Twin Cities region, according to a monthly analysis conducted by the Shenehon Center for Real Estate at the University of St. Thomas’ Opus College of Business. Each month the center tracks the median price for three types of sales: nondistressed or traditional; foreclosures; and short sales (when a home is sold for less than the outstanding mortgage balance). In addition, it looks for trends in the market and creates a monthly composite index score by tracking nine data elements for those three types of sales.

In September 2015 the $230,000 overall median sale price of a single-family home was unchanged from August but is 6 percent higher than in September 2014. Likewise, compared to last year the number of closed sales was up 12.5 percent and the number of pending sales (homes that are sold but have not yet closed) was up 11.9 percent. Herb Tousley, director of real estate programs at the university, cites two factors that are keeping the sale prices up: above-average wage growth and a historically low number of homes on the market (down 15.5 percent in September compared to a year ago). “We are continuing in a sellers’ market,” he said. “Look for these trends to persist through October before the market settles down a bit during the holiday season.”

Sept 2105 Median Sale Price

Build To Rent – A New Trend Heading in our Direction?

 A lack of existing housing inventory, a relatively low number of new housing starts combined with a tight rental market is causing some builders to change their strategy; they are starting to build homes specifically for rental. This is a new trend that is beginning to appear in a number of markets across the country. According to the Wall Street Journal, 5.85 percent of the 535,000 single-family homes started in 2013 were built to rent. That number is expected to continue to increase over the next several years. This trend is being driven by the lack of a once-plentiful supply of existing distressed homes that could be purchased a deep discount, renovated and then converted into rental properties. “For the last several months the percentage of distressed sales in in the Twin cities has been less than 9 percent,” Tousley said. “And that means there have been few distressed homes available.”

Builders are building three- and four-bedroom homes specifically to rent to families. They can select durable materials and interior finishes that can withstand increased wear and tear. And since these homes are new, expenses like repairs and maintenance will be much lower than comparable older, existing housing. “Some builders are selling these homes to institutional buyers as a way to sell homes in a hurry that allows them to keep their crews busy and cash coming in the door,” Tousley said. “In some cases, these homes are being sold in bulk to institutional buyers at an 8 percent to 10 percent discount. In tight rental markets like ours, investors believe that continued rent growth and rising home values will allow them to reach their investment objectives.”

He said the build-to-rent trend is beginning to appear in several forms. Some investors are buying newly built homes from builders on lots in new subdivisions and in long-standing, established neighborhoods that are located in the same general geographical area. These large investors already own and rent homes that are scattered in different locations and they have the infrastructure in place to manage and care for the properties. In some cases developers are building entire rental communities that have three- and four-bedroom homes built with higher quality materials that will offer amenities similar to high-end apartments such as a club house, fitness center and resort-style pool area. Landscaping and exterior maintenance will be reduced where crews can mow all of the yards, plow snow and maintain the common areas on a large-scale basis.

“These communities would be attractive to a number of potential tenants,” Tousley said. “These homes would appeal to families who are new to the area and would like to get to know the market before they buy. This gives renters a chance to live in a nice neighborhood while they look for a home to purchase. Other renters would like to live in a high-quality neighborhood but don’t have the down payment required to purchase a home at this time. Some developers are offering these homes as an opportunity for renters to save for a down payment and build their credit until they can qualify for a mortgage. A rent-to-own concept could help potential buyers purchase a home in today’s tougher lending standards.” “While we haven’t seen build-to-rent activity yet in the Twin Cities, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this trend emerge here in the near future,” Tousley said.

The St. Thomas indexes.

Here are the Shenehon Center’s monthly composite index scores for September 2015. The index, which tracks nine data elements for the three types of sales (traditional, short sales and foreclosures), started in January 2005. For that month, the center gave each of the three indexes a value of 1,000.

The September 2015 index score for traditional sales was 1,114, down from the record-high 1,126 in August. The downturn is blamed, in part, on declines in the number of new listings and closed sales.

The September 2015 index score for short sales was 955, down from 975 in August. There were only 97 short sales in the 13-county Twin Cities region in September, representing 1.9 percent of total sales.

The September 2015 index score for foreclosures was 822, up from 818 in August. There were 333 foreclosure sales in September, representing 6.4 percent of total sales.

Sept 2015 UST Indices

More information online: The Shenehon Center’s charts and report for September can be found at http://www.stthomas.edu/business/centers/shenehon/research/default.html.

The index is available free via email from Tousley at hwtousley1@stthomas.edu.

 

Best of Real Estate Matters, Commercial Real Estate, Development, Green Building, Historic Tax Credits, Housing Trends, Investment Real Estate, Minneapolis / St. Paul Housing, Minnesota Real Estate Hall of Fame, Minnesota Real Estate Journal, Real Estate Programs, Real Estate Trends, Think Outside The Box, Twin Cities Real Estate, Urban Planning, UST Real Estate in the News

New Members of Minnesota Real Estate Hall of Fame Announced

The Minnesota Real Estate Hall of Fame, established in 2010 by the Shenehon Center for Real Estate at the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business, will add three new members in a morning ceremony Thursday, Nov. 5th, at the Golden Valley Golf and Country Club.

Members of the Minnesota Real Estate Hall of Fame are chosen for their outstanding business performance, high standards of ethics and community activities. The three new members

Dan DolanWells Fargo

For more than 50 years, Dan Dolan has pursued a career in real estate. He was a leader in improving the professional and ethical standards in real estate and was an early promoter and employer of women in real estate sales. His real estate developments include the Evergreen Community, an upscale residential development in Woodbury; and the Oakdale Crossing Business Park.

Throughout his career, Dolan has been actively involved in boards and fundraising, including the merger of Cretin and Durham high schools, fund raising for the University of St. Thomas, and serving as King Boreas XLII in the 1978 St. Paul Winter Carnival. He may be eligible for retirement, but Dolan is just as passionate as ever about real estate development and continues to receive offers of employment in the industry.

Larry Laukka  

Since 1962, Larry Laukka has actively served in all  aspects of the real estate industry, but primarily in the building and development business. Laukka’s experience has included the design, development, financing, construction and marketing of more than 6,000 dwelling units and home sites throughout the greater Twin Cities community, and the management of approximately 3,000 owner-occupied townhomes and condominiums. His leadership roles include president and director of the Minneapolis Builders Association (MBA), senior life director of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and founder of the Minnesota Housing Institute (MHI), which served the real estate industry’s state-wide needs to commercially promote home ownership and legislative action.

In the 1960s, Laukka worked with The Near Northside Re-Development Agency, a community based organization established to guide the redevelopment of the near north side of Minneapolis. The agency focused on the growing need for market rate housing and led to the development of single-family housing, hailed as “The Suburb in the City.”  After being approached by Governer Wendell Anderson, Laukka helped develop the State Housing Finance Agency and chaired the Minnesota State Housing Code Advisory Board until a state-wide building code was in place. Most recently, he served on the Fairview Southdale Hospital board of trustees and chaired the development of its new Carl N. Platou Emergency Center opened August 2015.

James Solem

For more than 40 years, James Solem provided outstanding leadership and tireless work in real estate finance and public policy, supporting the development of rental and ownership housing for low and moderate income households. He was the executive director of the Minnesota State Planning Agency from 1970 to 1978, and served as commissioner of the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency from 1978 to 1994 – a position he was appointed to five times by three Minnesota governors. From 1994 to 2000, Solem was the regional administrator for the Metropolitan Council, leading the long-range planning for transit, wastewater, parks and community development in the seven-county metropolitan area.  From 2000 – 2006, at the University of Minnesota’s Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA), he led a project to bring new ideas to the issues of affordable housing and regional growth.

Now retired from the Metropolitan Council, Solem is active with consulting and volunteer service. He is chairman of the board of the Community Reinvestment Fund and of the boards of Common Bond Housing Corporation and the Greater Minnesota Housing Fund. Throughout his career, Solem demonstrated an exceptional knowledge of operations and governmental polices, brought a high level of ethical standards to the real estate industry and championed those most in need.

The program is open to the public and the cost is $60. More information is available at http://www.stthomas.edu/centers/shenehon/minnesota-real-estate-hall-of-fame/

To register use the following link:    https://webapp.stthomas.edu/eventregistration/ust/register.jsp?eventcrn=B1973

The Minnesota Real Estate Hall of Fame now has 30 members. Previously named were:

  • 2010: Tony Bernardi, Lloyd Engelsma, Gerald Rauenhorst, William Reiling, Jim Ryan and Sam Thorpe Sr.
  • 2011: Robert Hoffman, Darrel Holt, Bernard Rice, Emma Rovick and five members of the Dayton family: Bruce and the late Douglas, Donald, Kenneth and Wallace.
  • 2012: David Bell, Robert Boblett Sr., Philip Smaby and Boyd Stofer.
  • 2013: Leonard Bisanz, Helen Brooks, Thomas Crowley, M.A. Mortenson Sr. and Kenneth Stensby.
  • 2014: George Karvel Ph.D., Cyril “Cy” Kuefler Sr., Jim Stanton

 

Commercial Real Estate, Industry News, Investment Real Estate, Medical Office, Office Real Estate, Real Estate Brokerage, Retail Real Estate

Building Owners Brace for Tall Order: One Way to Measure Space

 Reposted fron a Wall Street Journal article that apperred on May 27th

 By
Ilona Billington

The MetLife building used to be listed at 2.4 million square feet. Now it is listed at 3 million square feet. Getty Images

Coalition Plans to Announce Measurement System in June

One of the biggest complaints of office tenants is that building owners throughout the world use different systems for measuring how many square feet or square meters tenants are leasing, deviating as much as 24% from one another.

Now an international coalition of real-estate organizations formed last year is hoping to change that. The International Property Measurement Standards Coalition in June plans to announce a single measurement system for the global office market.

“The current situation on measuring standards is totally unacceptable,” said Ken Creighton, chair of the coalition’s board of trustees.

But whether or not building owners adopt or ignore the standards remains to be seen. The coalition doesn’t have the clout to require owners to follow its standards and many landlords don’t want to change their current systems, which can mean millions of dollars in extra rent.

For some building owners, adopting a new measurement standard would mean that their building would shrink in size and lose value. “There is a risk that some firms may be sitting on balance sheets that are actually worth significantly less when measured by a common standard,” said Scott McMillan, chief of real estate at the International Monetary Fund.

For many, the debate might seem surprising. After all, landlords throughout the world are governed by the same laws of physics.

But they use widely different systems for measuring space and this affects rents, which typically are charged on a price-per-square-foot or price-per-square-meter basis.

For example, for a space that measures 10,000 square meters (108,000 square feet), some landlords will simply charge rent based on that amount. But most will increase the size by some factor depending on what formula they use for apportioning public space in the building—lobbies, bathrooms, hallways—to tenants.

Landlords also vary in whether they begin their measurement from inside or outside an exterior wall. Some begin measurements at their building’s farthest extremity, like the nose of a gargoyle.

In some cities, including New York, landlords generally have increased loss factors over the years. For example, in 1979, architectural guides listed the Pan Am Building at 2.4 million square feet. Today the tower, which has been renamed the MetLife Building, is listed at 3 million square feet.

Tenants say consistent standards are greatly needed. “I would have preferred this to have happened five years ago, but better now than in five or 10 years’ time,” said Billy Davidson, group property director of Vodafone. VOD.LN 0.00% Vodafone Group PLC U.K.: London GBp209.50 0.00 0.00% May 30, 2014 4:38 pm Volume : 63.70M P/E Ratio 0.01 Market Cap GBp55.39 Billion Dividend Yield 7.13% Rev. per Employee GBp420,129 05/29/14 Vodafone to Meet With Indian O… 05/27/14 FCC Could Use Merger Concessio… 05/22/14 Why is Vodafone Flogging a Net… More quote details and news » VOD.LN in Your Value Your Change Short position “This is the right thing to do.”

The Standards Coalition was formed in 2013 by a group of international property organizations including the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in the U.K., the Building Owners and Managers Association in the U.S. and the International Monetary Fund. The move was partly in response to increasing pressure from large global tenants that are frustrated by the numerous measurement systems.

A group of 18 experts representing 11 countries have been working on the standards. Proposed standards have been circulating for comment among real-estate professionals for months.

Coalition members expect the standards to be controversial. “In any initiative in standardization there will inevitably be winners and losers,” said Marc Mogull, an executive with the investment firm Benson Elliot who also is a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

There is also the question of implementation. Building owners will have to voluntarily accept the new standards and it isn’t clear how many will do so, especially if it could mean a financial loss.

Many real-estate executives in New York are skeptical that new standards will change the minds of the city’s landlords. “It’s an important enough market that they can make their own rules,” said Mark Weiss, vice chairman of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank.

But tenants could put pressure on building owners to accept standards by avoiding properties that don’t. “I need the confidence from my suppliers to know when they give me comparable details that it’s really comparable,” said Vodafone’s Mr. Davidson. “With [the new standards] I can say that I won’t consider your building unless you show me the measurements based on these standards.”

Some government agencies say they will help pressure owners to accept the standards. One such agency is Dubai’s Land Department, according to Mohamad Al-Dah, a senior director. “From our own point of view we don’t have very fair standards in Dubai, but once the Land department begins using it, we will encourage businesses in Dubai to adopt it,” he said.

Write to Ilona Billington at ilona.billington@wsj.com

 
Architecture & Design, Commercial Real Estate, Development, Economics, Investment Real Estate, Office Real Estate, Property Management, Real Estate Trends, Think Outside The Box

Changing Office Trends Hold Major Implications for Future Office Demand

Office TrendPioneered by Tech Firms in California, Communal Workspace Model Becoming More Mainstream Among Big Office Firms

 The article below is reposted from CoStar. It was written earlier this year but I believe that it is still very relevant. There is a major change underway in how office space users are looking at their future office space needs and the utilization of their esisting office space.  This is a long term trend that is going to have a significant impact on office space owners, users, and investors.      – Herb Tousley, Director of Real Estate Programs, University of St. Thomas

 

By Mark Heschmeyer

 
Perhaps just as the inevitable disappearance of music, video and books stores should have been foreseen at the onset of a digitized connected world, so too should the commercial real estate industry start taking a hard look at changes occurring in the office market.Tenants are downsizing their offices, particularly larger public firms, as they increasingly adopt policies for sharing non-dedicated offices and implement technology to support their employees’ ability to work anywhere and anytime, according to Norm G. Miller, PhD, a professor at the University of San Diego, Burnham-Moores, Center for Real Estate, in a webinar he presented to CoStar subscribers last week.Miller said he put together the webinar to examine what would happen if office tenants used 20% less of the nation’s current office space, which has a total valuation of $1.25 trillion. That decrease in demand would represent $250 billion in excess office capacity. Although the current situation is not that dire, Miller said the trend is real, and he presented how it is currently playing out and the long-term implications for office building owners and investors.Following the webinar, CoStar News interviewed Dr. Miller for a more in-depth discussion of the topic and surveyed a wide sample of webinar participants to share their firsthand account of the ongoing trend and its implications.
 
According to Miller, four major trends are impacting the office market:
* Move to more standardized work space.
* Non-dedicated office space (sharing), along with more on-site amenities.
* Growing acceptance, even encouragement of telecommuting and working in third places, and
* More collaborative work spaces and functional project teams.
 
“Historically, under the old corporate hierarchy, everyone had their own assigned office or work desk and we saw utilization rates of 50% or so,” Miller said. “Firms that have moved to sharing space are seeing much more efficient utilization rates of 80% to 95%, sometimes using conference space seats to handle unexpected overflow. Some also have arrangements with temporary office space vendors like Liquid Space, Regus, HQ, Instant Space, as well as supporting employees working from home or third places.”“The average amount of leased space (per employee) has been shrinking,” he said. “As of mid-2012 the average was 185 square feet per worker, well below the average space assumption in most office-demand models, and well below figures 10 years ago.”There have definitely been changes in office demand, agreed Tim Wang, director and head of investment research for investor Clarion Partners in New York. “Ten years ago, 250 square feet per office employee was the gold standard in office real estate. Today, that average has dropped to approximately 195 square feet. While some office tenants are hesitating to commit to large leases primarily due to economic uncertainties, the long-term trend is clearly shifting towards efficient space usage.” Brian J. Parthum, who tracks employment and economic trends for Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) in Detroit, said his group is a case in point. “Our own organization recently moved into a smaller space,” Parthum said. “Efficient office design has allowed us to rent 7,000 square feet less space — down from 34,000 square feet — and at a lower rate. Additionally, we now have an office that is more attractive to the next generation of staff. The new space takes advantage of natural light, promotes face-to-face contact, and utilizes laptops, wireless technology, and mobile devices to allow for a more flexible work environment.”“Technology is allowing companies to be more paperless and work from a single laptop or device,” agreed Jason Lewis, president and managing broker of EcoSpace Inc. a brokerage firm in Denver that specializes in working with tenants to find sustainable workplaces. “Culturally the new generation of employees is requiring a more flexible and open environment. And in regards to the economics, there is the need for both startups and corporations to lower their burn rate and conserve cash, something that can easily be done by restructuring the way they view their office space,” Lewis said.For now, at least, the trend is more prevalent among large corporate office users with locations in multiple cities. John G. Osborne, executive director, leasing and marketing at Bergman Real Estate Group in Iselin, NJ, said also that the trend to shared office space is more prevalent among larger publically traded companies than smaller firms. “The majority of our smaller tenants, those that lease less than 5,000 square feet, still prefer private offices than an open plan,” Osborne said. “The majority of our smaller tenants, those that lease less than 5,000 square feet, still prefer private offices than an open plan,” noted John G. Osborne, executive director, leasing and marketing at Bergman Real Estate Group in Iselin, N.J.For many office-using firms, the Great Recession made downsizing a greater imperative. Occupancy rates dropped across the country as employers downsized staff and sought efficiencies through lower square foot per employee footprints. “Everything we’ve seen since 2006 and 2008 could be called the ‘Great Deleveraging,’” said Wilson Greenlaw, vice president of Thalhimer in Fredericksburg, VA. “Companies were removing fluff and eventually someone got around to looking at space utilization. Now that it is on the table, it will be maximized and implemented, resulting in a cultural shift for the office worker.”“Some of it is economic,” agreed Miller. “That is, companies realized they could save money by minimizing excess space. But I believe the single biggest factor driving this trend is technology. Now that we have moved to cloud-based file storage and can access our work from anywhere and it can be easily shared, workers no longer have to be tethered to an office to be productive. Technology is very much at the heart of this transformation.”Follow this link to read the rest of the article:  http://www.costar.com/News/Article/Changing-Office-Trends-Hold-Major-Implications-for-Future-Office-Demand/146580 

Industry News, Investment Real Estate, Real Estate Trends

Will Wall Street Buy Into Single-Family Rental Craze?

So Far, Institutional Ownership of Single-Family Rentals Appears to Have Legs, Analysts Say

Here is an interesting article from the CoStar Group about the changing face of the single family home rental market.  A trend is developing among institutional investors to purchase large numbers of single family homes for rental.  Our of the first to do this is a local company, Pine River Capital Management LP through its Silver Bay Realty Trust

By Randyl Drummer at CoStar Group

Private-equity funds, pension funds and other institutional investors have been playing in the single-family rental investment market since the middle of last year, but the space is likely to get quite a bit more crowded in coming months as public REITs join the party.

Along with dozens of other private firms and pension funds, two of the biggest private equity investors in the world, Blackstone Group LP and Colony Capital LLC, formed private REITs and stepped up their acquisitions of vacant homes to be converted to rentals last year, initially targeting the large pool of distressed housing in Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, Texas and Florida, where prices have fallen furthest and been slower to appreciate.

Among the other major players was pension investor Alaska Permanent Fund Corp., which provided $600 million in investment capital to Malibu, CA-based American Homes 4 Rent to purchase and manage foreclosed homes.

As of last week, American Homes 4 Rent — led by Wayne Hughes, who founded Public Storage (NYSE: PSA), one of the largest self-storage REITs in the U.S. — announced it will go public, using net proceeds from its planned IPO to acquire and renovate single-family homes.

Yet while the planned IPO is the most-anticipated offering in the single-family rental space, it’s not the first. That distinction goes to Minnesota-based Silver Bay Realty Trust (NYSE: SBY), a spinoff of mortgage REIT Two Harbors backed by Pine River Capital Management LP that went public in December, raising $245 million. The firm has acquired 2,500 homes with plans to acquire another 3,000.

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Industry News, Investment Real Estate, Property Management, Real Estate Trends, Residential Real Estate, Uncategorized

Silver Bay Realty Files IPO To Be First Single-Family Rental REIT

A recent report from CoStar written by Mark Heschmeyer indicates that a local company may be the first publicly REIT that invests in single family homes.
 
September 19, 2012 

Silver Bay Realty Trust Corp. is aiming to be the first firm out of the IPO gate to become a publicly traded REIT focused on the acquisition, renovation, leasing and management of single-family rental properties for rental income and long-term capital appreciation.

The proposed REIT won’t be alone in chasing deals in the distressed housing market as several private investors have also been raising money for such ventures.

The Minnetonka, MN-based Silver Bay filed a proposed initial public offering of its common stock looking to raise up to $287.5 million.

Two Harbors Investment Corp., a New York-based publicly traded mortgage REIT, will contribute its portfolio of some 700 single-family rental properties valued at approximately $75 million to help form the venture.

The contribution is intended to be part of a larger transaction in which Silver Bay expects to acquire two other large portfolios containing about 800 homes from Provident Real Estate Advisors LLC while concurrently offering its common stock.

Silver Bay will be externally managed by PRCM Real Estate Advisers LLC, a joint venture between a Pine River Capital Management affiliate and Provident Real Estate, a private capital management firm. An affiliate of Pine River also serves as the external manager of Two Harbors Investment.

In its IPO filing, Silver Bay called the large-scale, single-family residential rental industry a relatively new market in the U.S.

“Until recently, this industry has been fragmented in both its ownership and operations, consisting primarily of private and individual investors in local markets and managed by local property managers,” Silver Bay stated. As a result, the firm believes a compelling opportunity exists to accumulate a large portfolio of properties and lease them to tenants for attractive yields.

Read the rest of the article:  http://www.costar.com/News/Article/Silver-Bay-Realty-Files-IPO-To-Be-First-Single-Family-Rental-REIT/141622?ref=100&iid=298&cid=FC4C5ECBFF14BCA42CFC3FCF0353A739

Commercial Real Estate, Industry News, International Real Estate, Investment Real Estate, Real Estate Trends

Miami, Minneapolis, Phoenix Emerge as New Target Markets for Foreign Investors

U.S. Benefiting from ‘Being a Safe Haven’

Minneapolis has been attracting international attention from foreign investors who are looking for attractive commercial real estate assets.  CoStar’s Mark Heschmeyer writes in a recent article(see below) that while New York, Washington, and San Francisco have traditionally been that first choice for foreign investors, cities like Minneapolis are now  being viewed as attractive alternatives.

By  August 1, 2012

Global investor commercial real estate purchasing activity picked up in the second quarter with total market volumes increasing 24% from the first quarter to $108 billion, according to data collected from more than 60 countries by Jones Lang LaSalle Capital Markets Research in London.

This level of investment reverses the slight dip in activity recorded in the first quarter when volumes reached $87 billion.

REITs and unlisted funds were the second quarter’s biggest net buyers of property.

London remains the world’s most sought-after location, according to the report, with the United States moving back towards the $40 billion transactions mark in the second quarter, with 35% of deals involving cross-border parties.

While New York, San Francisco and Washington DC have long topped the target list for foreign investors, a number of second-tier U.S. cities have entered the Top 10 list for cross-border purchases into the United States, including Miami, Minneapolis and Phoenix.

Read the entire article: http://www.costar.com/News/Article/Miami-Minneapolis-Phoenix-Emerge-as-New-Target-Markets-for-Foreign-Investors/140390?ref=100&iid=291&cid=FC4C5ECBFF14BCA42CFC3FCF0353A739