One of the industry’s closely watched “status checks” (and one I’ve been watching for years) points to a fairly positive outlook for U.S. commercial real estate in the months ahead. The quarterly report from Prudential Real Estate Investors (PREI) also details potential hiccups, including rising interest rates, so it’s well worth a read.
Here is an executive summary of Prudential’s report:
• With the economy growing at a healthy pace, commercial real estate fundamentals are finally moving in a positive direction in all sectors. Fears of a double-dip recession have mostly abated, although turmoil in the Middle East and the disaster in Japan are reminders that exogenous events are always lurking. Questions remain as to how strong the recovery will be and how long it will take the space markets to fully recover from the recession.
• The momentum should continue in the apartment and hotel segments, which bottomed a year ago, due to increased demand for rental units and rising travel. Fundamentals are just shifting to positive in the office, retail and warehouse sectors. Gains in those property types are bound to be inconsistent based on the market and segment.
• Capital continues to flow to commercial real estate, particularly “prime” assets in “gateway” cities. Acquisition yields in a handful of core markets have been reduced to historically low levels. Transaction activity is up about 50% from a year ago and should reach 2004 levels.