Tag Archive for: inflation

chess_challenge_169627837_s 770x320

There was a whirlwind of real estate deals in 2021 and most of 2022 as billions of dollars flowed toward the purchase or development of South Florida properties.

That steady pace of dealmaking was fueled by an influx of wealthy people, well-paid professionals, and businesses who relocated from other parts of the U.S. to Florida due to its decent weather, low taxes and business-friendly environment.

Today, that migration is still ongoing. However, higher interest rates and growing concerns of a nationwide recession have noticeably cooled South Florida’s red-hot economy. Still, the state’s population continues to grow, which has, in turn, kept the economy humming.

Meanwhile, the tri-county region remains a favored destination for the rich to invest and live in.

To discover about how these trends are affecting South Florida’s residential, office, retail and industrial real estate markets, now and into the future, the South Florida Business Journal gathered a panel of experts for its ninth annual Market Review panel event at the ArtsPark Gallery in Hollywood.

Moderated by Business Journal Real Estate Editor Brian Bandell, the panelists discussed how high interest rates and inflation have affected some property sectors and not others, whether the state’s continued population growth will make it less susceptible to a national recession, and other key topics. The two-hour discussion was sponsored by Berkowitz Pollack Brant Advisors and CPAs, Stiles and the city of Hollywood.

High Interest Rates

The panel launched with experts discussing one of the main drags on the region’s real estate market: higher interest rates.

Noah Breakstone, CEO of Fort Lauderdale-based developer BTI Partners, said interest rates started at 3.25% in January and have climbed to about 7%.

“It’s had a serious impact on purchasing power for single-family home buyers, for condo buyers throughout the market, and we are going to continue to see that effect,” Breakstone said.

Art Lieberman, director of tax services for Miami-based Berkowitz Pollack Brant Advisors + CPAs, agreed, adding that he’d seen a consistent slowdown in property transactions in recent months.

“And there is a good reason for that,” Lieberman said. “Financial leverage is turning either even or upside down.”

The rise in interest rates has created a “bid/ask spread,” in which sellers and buyers are reluctant to compromise on the price of real estate assets. That’s caused transactions to slow down, if not stop altogether.

“A lot of my clients are projecting no property sales for at least three months,” Lieberman said.

As for office deals, they have “come to a screeching halt,” said Brett Reese, managing director of Boca Raton-based CP Group, one of the largest office landlords in Florida.

“Deals we are still trying to make happen involve the seller offering financing … or they have an existing mortgage that we can assume,” Reese said. “Absent that, it is virtually impossible to make the deals work today.”

High interest rates, high capitalization rates and sellers not willing to compromise on price have contributed to the office deal slowdown.

“The other issue we come across is public markets,” Reese said. “The REITs (real estate investment trusts) have traded down or sold off so badly that their valuations are bleeding into the public market a lot faster than private markets.”

High interest rates and cap rates have slowed retail transactions, as well, said Nicole Shiman, senior VP of Edens, a Washington, D.C.-based retail owner and operator. On top of that, consumers nationwide are being squeezed by inflation. Nevertheless, retail has already faced adversity.

“Retail has been experiencing broad-based headwinds for a number of years, with e-commerce and Covid being the most significant stress tests imagined on retail,” Shiman said. “So, retail has fared a lot better than a lot of its piers from an interest rate perspective.”

Michael J. Stellino, senior managing director of development for Elion Partners, a North Miami Beach-based investment management firm that focuses on industrial real estate, said high interest rates have affected its business. But the industrial sector is doing fine.

“The ray of sunshine is that we have seen a lot of interest in the capital markets,” Stellino said. “Pension funds really have shown a positive commitment to industrial. It still feels like this is an asset class that has a long way to go.”

The Trillion-Dollar State

Harvey Daniels, VP of sales for Miami-based Fortune International Group, a broker and developer of high-end condominium projects, said high interest rates have hardly impacted the luxury residential sector. His customers pay cash directly to the developer over a period of four or five years.

“When you are dealing with the ultra-high-end luxury market, it is like, ‘What is a mortgage?’ You just don’t hear about it,” Daniels said.

And his clients are willing to pay record prices for a luxury residence, especially if it comes with an ocean view.

“I have been doing development sales for 30 years in South Florida, and I can tell you there are some of the most expensive projects coming online that South Florida has never seen before,” Daniels said. “Prices per square foot are exceeding $5,000. Somebody just sold something at preconstruction at $7,500 a foot. The reality is, they are coming here and they are buying here. And when that money comes here, the other things come.”

Bandell asked the panelists if the state of the national economy could slow down luxury buying in South Florida.

“Look, I have been hearing this for a long time, but we are in a bubble,” Daniels said. “We go up high and we go low fast. It is what it is.”

With 800 people a day moving to Florida, the state will continue to prosper, Berkowitz Pollack Brant’s Lieberman said.

“They have to live somewhere and work somewhere and play somewhere,” Lieberman said. “So … there is going to have to be increased building.”

In 2020 and 2021, more money migrated to Florida — about $24 billion — than any other state in the U.S., Edens’ Shiman said.

“Texas is next on the list, and they had $6 billion,” Shiman added. “We are talking about three or four times more than anywhere else in the country. And retail is in a great position to capture much of that cash flow. If you have significant wealth migration, you have more consumers with disposable income who can spend and that really drives retail sales, And once you drive retail sales, that is the opportunity to drive retail rents.”

The office sector has certainly benefited from the wealth influx, especially among companies entering the market for the first time, CP Group’s Reese said.

“For the last few years, the momentum on the leasing front has been unlike anything the state has experienced before,” Reese said. “Historically, maybe there was 250,000 square feet or so of new-to-market tenants coming in. Since Covid, it has been 2 million square feet and, if you were to look at who that is, it is every household hedge fund, private equity, bank, technology firm. They all established a presence in South Florida.”

Those new companies want Class A office space, and they are willing to shell out top dollar for it.

“There is no cap on what the top hedge funds or banks are willing to pay. The comps we are getting in West Palm for the best-quality space are three or four times higher than the highest rent ever achieved in South Florida,” Reese said. “What people are paying in rent per square foot is what we are buying buildings for per square foot.”

The influx of people and business has enhanced the demand for industrial, too, Elion Partners’ Stellino said.

“Those people are still shopping. They are still buying things,” Stellino said. “And where does all that product get stored before it goes to the retailer? Before it goes to the condominium? It all flows through the warehouse.”

Increasingly Unaffordable

The luxury market is performing well because South Florida is a historically proven safe harbor, both domestically and internationally, BTI Partners’ Breakstone said.

“Look at what is happening in Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Russia,” Breakstone said. “People want to keep their money here.”

But while the influx in cash has helped the commercial real estate sector, it hasn’t made it easier for the average income earner to afford to live here. Not only are most homes out of reach thanks to high interest rates, but rents are increasingly unaffordable, Breakstone said

“People who are medium income, they’re using over 50% of their earnings to live here and it’s getting even more costly,” Breakstone said.

Even local residents who bought early have a predicament.

“If you live in a place that you own, it’s great what you can sell it for,” Breakstone said. “But what are you going to buy?”

Higher interest rates and labor costs have made it much more expensive to build, too. And with less supply, there will be higher housing costs, taking the housing affordability issue from bad to worse, Breakstone said.

“I think Miami is on the track to be another New York, just with a better tax environment, superior weather, easier access and a lot of other dynamics,” Breakstone said. “But affordability is going to be a substantial challenge. I don’t think that is going to go away and there is going to have to be more creative solutions.”

The attraction of a skilled workforce is what South Florida needs to attract large tech companies such as Google, Reese said.

“South Florida in general is a place a lot of students want to move to, but it’s extraordinarily expensive,” Reese added, “So offering more affordable housing options is going to be critically important to attract that talent, and having that talent will spur more growth with employers.”

Future Trends

South Florida has likely already seen its biggest lease deals in the present real estate cycle, Reese said, so a “cooling off period” seems imminent. Transactions for office buildings, on the other hand, will probably heat up as the substantial mortgages that landlords took out over the years come due.

“We are at this standstill where somebody has to blink and … the first guy to blink is going to be the seller,” Reese said.

Retail landlords will generally do well in South Florida, thanks to the influx of cash and a shortage of available retail space, Edens’ Shiman said.

Industrial is also set to prosper, especially since developers and retailers are still hoarding items and materials after dealing with supply chain issues last year.

“They realize they are losing customers if they don’t have items on the store shelves,” Elion Partners’ Stellino said. “So, they keep that inventory here, where they can control it. That means builders and distributors now keep the raw materials they need in warehouses here instead of offshore and abroad, in case there’s another hiccup in the supply chain.”

Yet, there’s only so much space where new industrial can be built, leading logistics developers to consider new approaches.

Stellino said local industrial developers could replace Class B and Class C office buildings with newer Class A industrial, since they’re often in major markets.

Breakstone said there’s so much uncertainty in the market, he’s stopped trying to predict the future. He just makes sure he’s nimble enough to react to the “crosswinds that are happening.”

“South Florida is a micro-economy that does not follow national trends,” said Berkowitz Pollack Brant’s Lieberman. “We have booms when no one else does, And we have busts when no one else does.”

And Florida is unique in another aspect: Many of the people moving their residences and companies to the Sunshine State are attracted by its center-right politics.

“People are moving here for political reasons,” Lieberman said. “As long as there is a political imbalance between the north and the south, I think you will see the continued increase in population.”

 

Source: SFBJ

outlook_forecast_184185546_s 770x320

Core CPI inflation and headline CPI both decelerated last month, in a trend experts say could portend more disinflation factors in the near term.

Analysts from Marcus & Millichap note in a new analysis that the prices for some commodities also fell in October, including apparel and used motor vehicles, and the fees certain medical services.

“And these may be early signs that less disrupted supply chains are alleviating some of the structural drivers of inflation,” Marcus & Millichap say.

Headline CPI increased 7.7 percent over the 12 months ending in October, the smallest year-over-year increase since January of this year. While the deceleration is notable, Marcus & Millichap experts say the downshift is unlikely to be enough to fend off another hike in the overnight lending rate in December.

“The Federal Open Market Committee noted in its most recent forward guidance that it is looking for a clear trend of inflation normalizing toward the 2 percent target,” Marcus & Millichap say. “Even so, the FOMC has also acknowledged that there is a delay between when monetary policies are put in place and when the economy responds, and last month’s slower price climb, paired with an uptick in unemployment, support a more moderate rate hike. The current expectation is for a 50-basis-point December rise in the fed funds measure, capping the fastest year of increases since the early 1980s.”

But October’s inflation news offers a “mixed outlook” for retail CRE: while rent growth has improved and vacancy has tightened over the last year, prices continue to keep pace at restaurants and grocers. Gas prices also ticked up in October after three months of decreases, and higher energy bills are predicted to constrain consumer spending entering the holiday shopping season.

High housing costs are good news for the multifamily sector, where rents continue to rise at a rate that’s half the typical house payment. Over half of last month’s CPI increase was driven by higher housing costs, Marcus & Millichap says.

“In recognition of these housing needs, multifamily construction activity is set to hit a record magnitude next year,” Marcus & Millichap say. “While the new supply is warranted in the long-run, in the short term it will drag on fundamentals, especially as high inflation and rising interest rates weigh on economic outlooks and prompt more households to stay put in 2023.”

Lenders are also pumping the brakes as the cost of debt continues to increase. CBRE’s Lending Momentum Index fell by 11.1% quarter-over-quarter and 4.7% year-over-year in Q3, while spreads widened on 55%-to-65%-loan-to-value (LTV) fixed-rate permanent loans running from seven to 10 years in length. Marcus & Millichap has noted that pricing is recalibrating across most property types as the expectation gap between buyers and sellers widen and lending criteria have tightened.

“But once interest rates stabilize, however, investors and lenders will be better able to determine valuations and move forward on trades,” the firm says. “In the interim, the dynamic environment fostered by the Fed could lead to unique options for buyers, who may face less competition now than when rates plateau.”

 

Source: GlobeSt.

 

inflation_188946049_s 770x320

Pesky, lingering inflation that is higher than we’ve seen in years, along with six interest rate hikes totaling 375 basis points since the beginning of the year have had varying degrees of impact on all sectors in commercial real estate.

The speculation of further hikes later this year and in early 2023 doesn’t help.

Industrial real estate remains one of the darling sectors, though it is being tested by current economic conditions.

Four industrial real estate professionals, including owners, investors and brokers, three of them based in Chicago and one based in Houston, participated in a roundtable discussion, giving their perspectives on inflation, interest rates and industrial real estate. The participants: Alfredo Gutierrez, Founder, SparrowHawk; Rick Nevarez, Director of Acquisitions, Clear Height Properties; Kelly Disser, Executive Vice President, NAI Hiffman; and Hugh Williams, Principal and Managing Broker, MK Asset Brokerage.

What are the implications of the five 2022 rate hikes on transaction/acquisition activity?

Alfredo Gutierrez: It’s a challenging time as there are more investors stepping to the sideline. This means that if you are selling an asset today you might get three or four offers versus a dozen one year ago. On the  buy side, if investors have cash or lines of credit tied to a low rate, they are utilizing their resources. The fundamentals on the income side of the equation, because of rent growth, are still strong—that’s factual. Some are putting down their pencils because they are concerned about the potential for a recession and whether we’ll see the same levels of rent growth.

In reality, cap rates are a function of how much capital there is to invest into something. The question is how much dry powder remains on the sideline. We’re seeing an erosion of capital on the retail side and people starting to get squeezed. However, banks, life companies and institutions still have capital to place, and I believe it will flow into industrial.

Rick Nevarez: Activity has slowed, but it hasn’t come to a grinding halt. Overall, we continue to see deal activity and are expecting a big fourth quarter. It’s like airplane turbulence:  some respond with white-knuckle gripping of the arm rest while others acknowledge it’s taking place and go about their business. It’s really a matter of understanding the fundamentals of the real estate and how the current economic environment impacts those fundamentals.

Kelly Disser: It’s an interesting time with different groups being impacted in different ways. Owner occupants, private investors, institutional investors—all have acted or reacted differently. The demand for industrial space and leasing absorption today is still very strong. Inventory/vacancy is at an all-time low. As a result we’re seeing rent growth like we haven’t seen before. In certain underwriting acquisitions, we are seeing the impact of interest rates on values somewhat mitigated by rent growth and rents trending even higher than what we see today. The equation is evolving.  The development and investment sales markets have reacted and adjusted. Those with large funds have the ability to remain active and aggressive—and they are distinguishing themselves. Investors/developers who are sourcing capital on a deal by deal basis may be having issues in the current environment.

Hugh Williams: There was a point this summer when large institutional investors essentially said, “pencils down on all deals,” unless it was a perfectly placed asset/tenant combination in the middle of the fairway. Investors and developers are proceeding with haunting caution because at some point the math does not work.  You cannot acquire an asset when you underwrite debt costs that are greater than your projected return. That is problematic.

But we need to remember we’ve been in a low-rate environment for a long time, an environment that couldn’t last forever; and there are geopolitical events taking place that are also important considerations.  I have heard people say they are pulling back but some of them aren’t sure why. Overall, leasing activity is quite strong, and things are still moving forward particularly in select markets and micro-markets.

How are the rate hikes changing the flow of acquisitions and dispositions, if at all? And are they impacting different size buildings differently?

Nevarez: Interest rate hikes have pushed some buyers and sellers to the sidelines. But we are still buyers, looking at a variety of opportunities including value-add acquisitions. Sometimes you have to tweak underwriting to have a deal pencil out and make sense. Now more than ever, you need to understand ALL elements of the transaction, and what is motivating buyers and sellers.

Gutierrez: The effect based on size is really a case by case situation. But in general, if you had two assets where essential building characteristics except for size were essentially the same, the smaller asset would feel the pinch more. While smaller buildings are more likely to have shorter term leases, it will depend on the tenant roster and the lease terms. At the same time, because the rent roll may turnover more quickly, smaller buildings may be able to adjust pricing more quickly, too.

Disser: Interest rate hikes are impacting the flow of acquisitions and dispositions. The  pace has slowed in the second half of 2022 from what we saw the prior 18 months. But it is all relative, the first 18 months coming out of covid we saw activity levels, values and rents not seen before—in Chicago and across the country. An adjustment was needed.  There was simply too much money chasing too few assets:  the definition of inflation. Impact varies from case-to-case, according to location, submarket, or quality of asset.

Williams: My hypothesis is that if you go to a smaller, non-institutional building, it’s generally a different type of buyer, with a different mentality. For example, an operator like Blackstone is taking the long view. They are likely focused on main and main locations. When they go to build, they are focused on operating their platform as a business, not necessarily the conditions of the moment or focused on a near to short term exit. Smaller owners may be at greater risk—real and emotional—based on being prisoners of the moment (as we all are).  The short stroke is big boats are better ballasted against storms. Small boats get tossed about.

In other asset classes—like office and multifamily—some say that activity has slowed as the market looks for a re-set. To what degree is that occurring in the industrial sector, and are there other considerations (i.e., size, etc.)?

Nevarez: It’s really hard to say that any asset class is recession-proof, but industrial certainly is close. If the market was overbuilt, the impact might be different. There may be a scaling back and slight reset of pricing, but it’s not the same as other sectors because demand has been so strong. Our portfolio, for example, is 96% leased due to lack of product in the markets we own and operate in.

Gutierrez: A lot of people have put pens down, so to speak. Unless you need to place capital, you won’t. With some of the overall questions that exist, and fewer offers to consider, there isn’t necessarily a lot of pricing clarity. As 2022 wraps up our volumes will be down, particularly for the second half of the year.

Disser: It is always dangerous to generalize. The idea of a price reset isn’t absolute in industrial, as it may be in other sectors. In the industrial sector I think value equations are evolving, given rent growth. We see absorption, leasing and rental rates continuing to increase. The user/occupier clients of mine generally are operating businesses that are still strong and eyeing expansion.  In addition to scrutinizing interest rates, many are watching how lenders behave—as many have slowed loan origination activity. For some groups, the ability to secure the capital for a project in some cases is as much of a question as the cost of the capital.  If you lose your equity partner or can’t get a loan—you’re out.

Williams: There is a group that has been waiting 5-6, 10 years for a reset! The sky is continually falling.  Say it long enough and eventually you will be right. Pricing may fluctuate from its peak, but I don’t anticipate an incredible swing. The reality is that developers are much more rational today and have been that way for the last decade. What is going on in the interest rate environment forces additional austerity measures onto industrial developers.

All of the various elements at play lead me to believe that the sky will not fall, maybe a little rain, but rainwater is one of the keys to life—ask California.

How are higher interest rates impacting user sales/acquisitions? Are the higher rates making them any more or less likely to look at renting versus owning?

Nevarez: Higher Interest rates make it harder for users to come up with the capital to purchase an asset. Most users would rather place their capital in their actual business operations (machinery, employees, etc.).  Current owners may also look at their overall business plan to determine where they may need additional capital and find creative ways on how to get that capital. They look at their actual real estate as an opportunity to raise capital—through a sale leaseback—and to Clear Height (landlords) as a way to get that capital, creating a win-win situation for both parties.

Gutierrez: One of the factors that pushes users to consider an acquisition is the upward trajectory of rental rates. They figure they might as well buy. But in the current interest rate environment, the cost of ownership—if there was an inventory of buildings for users to buy—is up as well.

While there are concerns across the industry about interest rates, inflation and their overall impact, Alfredo Gutierrez suggests that the potential for stagflation would be worse. “If the Fed is going to push us into a recession, put us there and make it short-lived.”

Disser: Everything is getting more expensive across the board; that is why inflation is so crucial at this point in time. I don’t believe the increases in interest rates have impacted user sales whatsoever.  The most limiting factor is just availability of space or available options that could be purchased.  There is virtually no inventory. I have clients who want to sell their buildings—they need more space—but have no where to go; because there is nothing larger for them to buy.   Clearly the higher cost of funds results in larger interest payments, but the demand and growth seems to be greatly outweighing borrowing costs.

Williams: Not everyone needs to own a home, not everyone needs to own industrial real estate. Unless there is a specialized need, most operators should probably focus on their business and not try to get into the real estate game. The other consideration is that because of the overall tightness of the market, it’s hard to make a move—hard to buy a building. For many owner-users real estate is as emotional as it is practical.  Those that really want to buy will find a way but my supposition is that things slow on the user front because higher interest rates also affects the entire supply chain of activities within a warehouse as much as the cost of acquiring that warehouse.

 

Source: REjournals

Red Percentage Symbol Surrounded By Dollar Sign

The past two years were like nothing ever before seen in South Florida.

A period of record growth was fueled by inbound migration, strong consumer spending and record low interest rates — all of which drove billions of dollars invested in the development of millions of square feet of commercial real estate.

Much of this was brought on by the pandemic. Now, the pandemic has subsided and the South Florida CRE market has come to a moment of reckoning. Or has it?

The Federal Reserve has raised interest rates five times this year, including the increase of 75 basis points on Sept. 21, all in an effort to stem inflation. The Fed’s effort to keep the economy moving at the start of the pandemic led to the slashing of its target rate to 0%-to-0.25%. It remained there for the next two years, until March, when it set its first increase of 25 basis points.

The era of relatively cheap money for commercial and residential borrowers has come to an end. While the current rate of around 3% to 3.25% still is historically low, borrowing costs are at their highest level since 2019. In June, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell noted that the rate could reach 3.8% by late 2023. Simply put: These are the most aggressive rate hikes in generations.

This leaves developers and owners of office, industrial and retail projects to perform a delicate balancing and forecasting act incorporating borrowing costs versus long-term demand.

With borrowing costs rising, and fears of inflation and a possible recession looming, how will CRE across South Florida respond? It’s impossible to judge from how other markets are responding. Some have seen commercial projects tabled and vacancies rising, even if rents remain stable.

South Florida Is The Outlier In The CRE Marketplace

Development remains robust. Warehouse, logistics and industrial projects continue unabated from Homestead in the South and Palm Beach County’s Western expanse to the North, with numerous infill projects in between. Luxury rental apartments in hot markets, such as Brickell, Coral Gables, Fort Lauderdale’s Flagler Village and downtown West Palm Beach, are rising to meet the demand of the more than 800 new arrivals still coming to Florida daily.

Conflicts exist between remote workers and their employers calling for a “return to the office;” and with the hybrid workplace model continuing to evolve, future office needs remain unknown. Yet, the region has numerous dedicated and mixed-use Class A projects in development.

While the concept of “headwinds” comes up in any conversation about the unknown impacts of rising interest rates, inflation and the possibility of recession, South Florida and the state are outliers for other reasons. Whether through REITs (real estate investment trusts), private equity, hedge funds and other institutional capital seeking a solid vehicle for their funds; family offices and investors looking for a hedge against inflation; Latin American families seeking a less turbulent harbor for their money; those looking to real estate as a hedge against inflation; or developers bullish on local market prospects, Florida is rich with liquidity.

 

Source: SFBJ

wooden number 10_95825388_s 770x320

LaSalle is expecting a high-impact second half of 2022, according to its Mid-Year Update.

The firm provided the top 10 issues it believes could steer commercial real estate’s direction, including those related to bonds, returns, capital flows, expenses, energy, construction and central banks.

GlobeSt.com highlighted LaSalle’s No. 1 top issue: Cost Of Debt.

Following are the others that made its list and LaSalle’s assessment, as well as commentary from others in the industry.

2. Rising Corporate Bond Yields – Upward pressure on discount rates and exit cap rates.

Jon Spelke, managing director of LFB Ventures in El Segundo, tells GlobeSt.com, “Cap rates will continue to follow interest rates upward trends to avoid negative leverage situations. It will be difficult to underwrite a deal with negative leverage and relying on rent growth to bail out the deal. Especially while expense growth continues to trend and at an equal rate as rents.”

3. Higher Required Returns – As a corollary of No. 2, investors will seek slightly higher returns from real estate, given that alternative credit market products will now be priced at higher yields.

Spelke added, “Unlevered yields will continue to follow interest rates and as asset pricing adjusts to the new financing norms (i.e. sellers come to grips with the current asset pricing versus what they thought they could get 90 days ago) deal flow will resume. This economic situation was/is not caused by the real estate industry, (i.e., over building, etc.) so real estate remains a healthy asset class in most regions and submarkets. Once values adjust, the deal flow will resume with strong fundamentals following.”

4. Capital Flows To Real Estate – Despite the mixed impacts listed above, real estate’s reputation as a better inflation hedge than fixed income will likely maintain its status as a favored asset class while the securities markets experience volatility.

Eli Randel, chief operating officer, CREXi, tells GlobeSt.com that increasing costs of capital will likely result in expanded yields and softened values, however, large supplies of capital seeking deployment may help sustain current asset values.

“Commercial real estate, even at compressed yields, remains a more attractive investment vehicle to many relative to cash, bonds, and equities and as a result quality assets in quality markets will find abundant capital demand even at still high-prices,” Randel said. “Look for low-leverage, negative-leverage, and all-cash deals to become more prominent with pricing on those deals reflecting sub-optimal levels. An institutional flight to quality will create a bifurcation in the market where core deals will trade at aggressive pricing with suboptimal deals seeing a decline in value.”

5. Capital Market Shifts – Investor demand moves away from fixed long-term leases and toward shorter indexed leases.

Jeff Needs, director, Moss Adams Real Estate Advisory, tells GlobeSt.com, “As markets continue to search for price stabilization, expect to see shorter-term leases, reduced capital improvements and negotiating leverage continuing to tip to tenants. Vacancies that are best suited to be used in ‘as-is’ condition will lease first, and some landlords will do minor tenant improvements upfront to be more competitive. Though individual markets perform at their own pace, we haven’t reached the bottom yet so expect this to continue until there’s a turning point.”

 6. Rising Cost Of Construction – Chilling effect on construction, wherever rents can’t keep pace.

“As the market slows, the upward pressure on cost (labor and materials) should ease for a bit,” Spelke said. “Subcontractors looking to keep crews engaged will look to be more competitive as projects are put on hold and shelved.”

7. Higher Energy Prices – Higher occupancy costs will erode tenants’ ability to pay higher rents.

Marilee Utter, CRE, global chair of The Counselors of Real Estate, tells GlobeSt.com “The consequences building and that business owners are facing – and need to consider in business continuity and resiliency planning – include rising insurance costs and increased investment in on-site energy resilience.”

8. Slowing Demand – While central banks attempt to cool off overheated sectors, broad-based tenant demand will likely step down a notch because monetary policies are blunt instruments that don’t distinguish well between sectors. In some parts of the world, ‘recession’ danger signals are flashing.

9. Currency Movements – Differentials in interest rates/inflation will favor currencies with rising interest rates and could raise hedging costs for currencies with lagging interest rate increases.

10. Rising Expenses – Just about every expense category associated with operating a property will be under upward cost pressure. Operational-intensive properties that require a lot of headcount or energy consumption could be most affected.

As a corollary to No. 5, LaSalle said net leases will be preferred by investors, but tenants will be under new cost pressures that could affect their ability to renew or to expand. Long leases to real estate operators whose margins could be squeezed by both rising occupancy and labor costs are an example of the kinds of risk to avoid.

Michael Busenhart, Vice President Real Estate at Archer, tells GlobeSt.com that with the recent inflation increases, owners are feeling the benefit on the rental income side, but also feeling the pressure on the expense side.

“As multifamily owners look to maximize LOI, many are seeking an edge to curb expense spending,” Busenhart said. “To do this, they can review financials internally to notice increased trends, or use data that enables asset managers to benchmark their properties/portfolio against the competition to seek areas where they can improve against the overall market.”

 

Source: GlobeSt

construction site with sunset sky background_26174032_s-770x320

When it comes to housing in South Florida, homebuyers and renters aren’t the only ones grappling with sticker shock.

Developers often face construction costs that are 20% to 30% higher than a year ago – a trend that’s already stalled some projects at a time when local residents struggle to secure housing. That means builders have to weigh whether to accept smaller profit margins, eschew some projects altogether or, in the case of affordable housing, seek more money from public funding sources to complete those jobs.

The tri-county region has become one of the most expensive U.S. metropolitan areas to live in due to the heated demand for housing and shortage of developable land. Much of that stems from the influx of out-of-state residents who flocked to the area in record numbers during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The rising cost of materials such as lumber, steel, fuel and iron, as well as tariffs, trade issues and surging labor costs have also driven up construction costs, resulting in higher rents for residential and commercial properties. And rising interest rates also are bringing down some sale prices, which impacts developers’ profit margins.

The spike in construction costs has led some developers to question the viability of taking on certain projects. For example, if construction estimates for condos come in too high, it may not make financial sense to build them, industry insiders say.

Developers and contractors must budget for construction cost increases and prepare for shortages in the supply chain. Items such as concrete, appliances, glass and steel are just some of the necessary staples that can delay the completion of the buildings.

“Construction costs have been as volatile as I’ve ever seen them in my 40 years in the market,” said Michael C. Taylor, CEO of Pompano Beach-based Current Builders. “From August of last year, we are seeing 20% to 25% increases. We don’t have any line items not increasing.”

Typically, Taylor tells developers his quotes are good for six months. But now he can only guarantee prices for 30 to 60 days, as delivery times on certain products have jumped from three months to nearly a year, he added.

Supply chain shortages and material costs are escalating at a pace he’s never seen, said Chris Long, president of Delray Beach-based Kaufman Lynn Construction.

“There’s great demand for housing as people continue moving to Florida, but this has led to affordability challenges,” Long said. “There’s some concern out there that we reached the peak and things need to normalize. They are trying to get deals done before the bubble bursts.”

Construction costs for commercial projects are up 7% to 10% a year, so it’s less severe than for residential projects, said Michael C. Brown, executive VP of Florida for Sweden-based construction firm Skanska. Nevertheless, many of its health care and education clients are scaling down the size of projects – an eight-story hospital wing instead of 10 stories, for instance – to move forward.

Contract Sticking Points

In many cases, the rise in construction costs has created friction between developers and general contractors.

Contracts inked a few years ago couldn’t factor in dramatic building cost increases or supply chain delays, so the parties have to determine who pays for those additional costs, said Lisa Colon, a construction attorney with Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr in Fort Lauderdale.

“Owners are making concessions because of supply chain issues that they would not have made two years ago,” Colon said. “Profit margins are less, but you can push it down to the consumer. The consumer will continue to see an increase in rent. Many developers and contractors are now adding price escalation clauses that specify a larger commitment from developers to cover cost overruns. It’s a false thought that contractors are making all this money as prices are going up. Nothing could be further from the truth. Their profit margins are being squeezed even tighter.”

Construction contracts should also address delays and whether material shortages should result in financial compensation, because most contractors will insist on avoiding liability when material shortages are out of their control, said Jordan Nadel, a construction attorney at Miami-based Mark Migdal & Hayden.

 

Source: SFBJ

43896596 - dollar money

After a banner year of CRE investment in 2021, 2022 is off to a solid start.

Reports from both Colliers and CBRE for the first three months of this year found that investment in CRE is up and, by some accounts, setting records.

U.S. transaction volume hit $161B, a first-quarter all-time high, Colliers found. CBRE clocked total transaction volume at $150.4B, which was a 45% increase over the same time the year before.

Volume was up for all asset classes, but unsurprisingly, multifamily took the top spot, capturing $63B, according to Colliers. That amounts to a 56% increase year-over-year and sets a new record for multifamily, according to Colliers.

By CBRE’s count, multifamily also took the lead, but CBRE found it garnered $57B in investment volume, a 42% increase over the previous year’s first quarter. It is common for brokerages to have different numbers based on their research metrics, including size of deals tracked.

Greater New York and greater LA were in the No. 1 and No. 2 spots for transactions, respectively, CBRE found. New York saw $63B worth of deals, while greater LA trailed closely behind with $62B worth of transactions.

Earlier this year, CBRE forecast that even after 2021’s record highs, CRE investment would continue to grow in 2022.

Though interest rates are moving upward and inflation is soaring, these factors haven’t had an impact on CRE yet, Colliers said, though it also noted those would likely be reflected in data later in the year because there is a lag between interest rates being hiked and deal flow effects.

CRE is often called an inflation hedge, and the interest in CRE this year could be seen as confirmation that investors view property as an investment that could withstand the uptick, but now some investors have begun to make moves that indicate they aren’t sure how much longer that will hold true.

 

Source: Bisnow

10349421 - hand of businessman holding dollars

The residential real estate market has received quite a bit of attention over the last two years, and for good reason.

The housing market has become so tight that inventory is extremely hard to come by in nearly every market, and prices are now higher than ever for homes. The properties that are listed for sale typically get snatched up in record time—and often sell for higher than asking price—which has made it tough for most buyers to compete.

Case in point: A moderately priced home recently went for sale in Raleigh, North Carolina, and it was absolutely inundated by potential buyers searching for affordable properties. That mad dash by buyers was enough to make national headlines, but any buyer who’s looked for property in the last two years was almost certainly not surprised by the overwhelming interest. That’s just part of what buyers face when looking for property in a red-hot housing market.

But the property buying frenzy that has occurred recently has hardly been limited to the residential housing market. Commercial real estate transactions have also exploded—with a surprising surge in transactions occurring over the last year. Throughout 2021, investors big and small snatched up everything from apartment buildings, warehouses, and distribution centers to other types of commercial properties, such as hotels. As of the second quarter of 2021, multifamily property sales were up 26% year over year and nonresidential properties were up 16% compared to the year prior.

There were also increases in sales rates across all commercial property types. The rampant demand for commercial properties also led to $193 billion in commercial real estate transactions occurring in the third quarter of 2021—and a record $809 billion in commercial property sales for all of 2021.

So what exactly drove the surge in commercial real estate transactions throughout 2021—and why? EquityMultiple compiled a list of six important trends in the commercial real estate markets during 2021, covering topics from the rise of individual investors to the impact of the federal reserve’s pandemic policies. Here’s what you should know.

The lower bond prices caused key bond market indices to post their first losses since 2013, and led investors to look for other ways to put their money to work, which included commercial real estate securities, real estate investment trusts, and other commercial property investments. While potentially risky, commercial real estate transactions can be lucrative for investors, with annual yields averaging between 6% and 12%, with potential for significant appreciation depending on market conditions and other factors. That means investing in commercial real estate has the potential for a significantly higher return on investment when compared to the average return on bonds.

These loans were then converted into commercial mortgage securities, which are offered to individual investors, investment firms, and other financial management companies as shares. By doing this, swaths of investors were able to buy into commercial real estate transactions without having to fund the full purchase of the physical properties or land. Apartment buildings, life science labs, and industrial properties—which were expected to yield higher returns than other commercial properties, such as shopping malls or retail centers—were especially sought after. These types of commercial properties yielded more than $193 billion in sales during the third quarter of 2021.

In turn, the demand for distribution centers surged, and vacancy rates at these properties reached historic lows. That led investors to capitalize on the trend by buying distribution centers and then rake in the profits from the high lease prices. Rampant supply chain shortages also made it difficult to develop more of these types of properties, which only added more fuel to the fire. Distribution centers and warehouses were suddenly selling for a premium, and investors were willing to pay the price for these properties, which kept transaction rates high.

By purchasing apartment buildings, commercial property investors are able to capitalize on the opportunity to profit from the increased rent prices that occurred. In 2021, rent increased by an average of 11%—or three times the normal rate—and it has only continued to increase from there. As of February 2022, the average national rent price for one-bedroom units was up 22.6% year over year, and two-bedroom rent was up an average of 20.4%.

As such, it can be tough for small investors to qualify, which has led them to set their sights on other options such as real estate crowdfunding, which opens access to commercial real estate transitions and other private fund structures. Another option includes open-ended funds, known as non-traded real estate investment trusts. Non-traded REITs accounted for about 42% of the alternative investment market in 2021, with about $36.5 billion total in fundraising that year alone. Part of the draw is that, unlike most traditional REITs, investors can buy into non-traded REITs for as little as $2,500—and there’s an opportunity for big returns in exchange. Most non-traded REITs have been paying dividends above 5%, which is competitive—and often beats—other types of fixed-income investments.

water-ripple_27847879_s-770x320-1.jpg

Retailers, third-party logistics firms and e-commerce groups alike are eating up the most big-box warehouse space in today’s red-hot market.

Retailers and wholesalers accounted for the most industrial deals at 200,000 square feet or larger last year, or 35.8% of all leasing activity, a considerable increase from 24.7% in 2020, according to CBRE Group Inc. E-commerce fell from the No. 1 spot in 2020 to third last year, accounting for 10.7% of all deals, while 3PLs grew from 25.8% to 32.2%, ranking No. 2 among large industrial leases in both 2020 and 2021.

Propelled by a surge in online ordering, and changes to consumer preferences in part because of the pandemic, retailers and 3PLs have ramped up their distribution networks considerably in recent years. That demand is expected to be sustained this year, and could become even more frenzied with the recent surge in gas prices.

The cost of regular gas has risen nationally 20.9% in the past month, from an about $3.50 a gallon to $4.32 on Tuesday, according to figures from Heathrow, Florida-based American Automobile Association Inc.

James Breeze, senior director and global head of industrial and logistics research at CBRE, said transportation accounts for at least 50% of a typical industrial occupier’s costs, even before the recent hike in inflation and oil prices. But, largely because of sanctions imposed on Russia from the war in Ukraine, oil prices have risen dramatically, although Brent crude futures — a key benchmark for oil prices — just began to decline. National gas prices were down 0.2% between Monday, March 14 and Tuesday, March 15, according to AAA.

“Any run-up in transportation costs will likely outpace warehouse rent growth, even while that’s growing at a rapid clip, which could result in even more demand for warehouse space,” Breeze said.

Carolyn Salzer, senior research manager of industrial logistics at Cushman & Wakefield PLC said higher gas prices could have a ripple effect on the industrial market, depending on the user and their supply-chain model. Both Salzer and Breeze said real estate costs for warehouse users have typically been about 5% of a company’s costs but, more recently, that’s gotten closer to 10%, Salzer said.

“If you bite the bullet and pay the more expensive rent to be close to the population center, and be more competitive with the labor pool and provide easier options for commuters to get to where you’re located, it can cut your transportation costs on gas and mileage in general,” Salzer continued.

Cushman & Wakefield is forecasting rent growth for warehouse and logistics space will rise by more than 15% in the next two years. Class A and new construction rents are anticipated to grow at an even higher rate. Those rental surges are creating a squeeze for some users, with tenants looking at lease terms sooner than what’s typical, or negotiating an early renewal or a smaller extension to resize a facility or consider real estate farther out, Salzer said.

But, Breeze said, for most industrial users today, higher rental rates generally aren’t causing companies to hit the brakes on expansion because they need the space to store inventory and lower transportation costs.

Salzer said she anticipates e-commerce users will occupy about the same share of the market it has since the pandemic, or 40%. That’s compared to 28.2% of all industrial absorption from 2016 through 2019, according to Cushman. Many retailers are opting to work with 3PLs to bolster their supply chains, which will continue to comprise demand in 2022 and beyond.

“CBRE so far this year has seen ramped-up leasing activity for groups that deal in building and construction materials, as well as medical supplies, which typically represent a lower share of the overall warehouse market, Breeze said. “That’ll likely mean a more diversified occupier base this year.”

 

Source: SFBJ

currency-rolled-up-to-form-bar-chart_inflation_65571224_s-770x320

Supply chain problems, labor shortages, and the housing shortage are all fueling inflation to eye-popping levels – and for CRE investors, that will mean greater competition for assets.

Headline inflation is up 7.1% from last year, the biggest uptick since 1982. And that rising inflationary pressure is forcing the Fed to switch gears and tighten policy.

“This will in turn put upward pressure on interest rates, raising the cost of capital for CRE investors,” says Marcus & Millichap’s John Chang.

Supply chain is the first contributing factor to inflationary pressures.

“It’s hard to move products from the manufacturers to the customers,” Chang says.

He points to shortages in raw materials, limitations on foreign port capacity, shipping container shortages, backlogs at domestic ports like those in Los Angeles and Long Beach, and a shortage of trucks.

“Basically, people want to buy more stuff than our supply chain can handle right now, so there are shortages and that means prices go up,” Chang says.

Retail sales are up 16% over 2019 numbers, while the amount of product moved by trucks in the US is down 5.1% over the same period.

The second issue? Labor shortages, which continue to stoke inflation.

“Quite simply, the US has never experienced a labor shortage like this,” Chang says. “At least not in the last 22 years, when records have been kept. As a result, companies are competing for personnel, and that’s driving up wages.”

Average hourly earnings are up 5% over last year, and sectors like accommodations and food services have seen labor cost increases of more than 15%.

“Rising wages create broad-based long-term inflation,” Chang says.

The third challenge is the housing shortage: there are not enough houses to buy or apartments to rent right now, and the problem will likely continue at least in the near term. There are currently about 1 million houses for sale in the US right now, about two months’ worth of supply; typically, four to six months’ worth of supply is required to maintain stability in the market.  Housing prices shot up 14.9% last year in response to the shortage.

In addition, there are only about 480,000 apartments available for rent, a vacancy rate of 2.6%, the lowest on record. Rents rose 15.5% last year.

“The Fed will be taking action to curtail the rising costs,” Chang says.

He notes that Fed Chairman Jerome Powell has already announced plans to accelerate the end of quantitative easing that was put in place during the pandemic, and says this will likely put upward pressure on long-term interest rates. The overnight rate is also on track to increase three times or more this year, which will put upward pressure on short term interest rates.

“As a result, interest rates are likely to continue to rise,” Chang says.

The ten-year Treasury rate is already up about 30 basis points from the beginning of December to a little over 1.7%. For investors, this will equate to more competition.

“Commercial real estate is viewed as one of the best places to invest money during periods of high inflation, especially properties that can increase rents with the market, like apartments, hotels, and self-storage properties,” Chang says. “Rising interest rates, and increased investor demand, implies that levered yields will compress this year. Basically, more commercial real estate buyer competition will push cap rates lower while the cost of capital, or interest rates, rise. That means CRE levered returns may tighten. But several property types still offer higher yields, like well-positioned office assets, retail assets, medical office buildings and some hotels, and properties in softer markets harder-hit by COVID restrictions could also offer higher yields and stronger multi-year returns.

 

Source: GlobeSt

cash

A report just released by the Federal Reserve warns that soaring commercial real estate prices across the country could harm financial markets, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The warning came from the Fed’s first-ever financial stability report, which cited “elevated asset prices, historically high debt owed by U.S. businesses and rising issuances of risky debt” as factors posing the biggest problems for the country’s financial system. The report also pointed to asset bubbles, and not inflation, as the impetus for the past two recessions.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell spoke about the subject  at The Economic Club of New York on November 28th.

 

Source: The Real Deal