Commercial Real Estate Recovery May Accelerate in Second Half of 2013 According to Jones Lang LaSalle

January 16, 2013

The U.S. presidential election may be over, but economic uncertainty will continue to hinder corporate decision making and impede improvement in commercial real estate fundamentals well into 2013, according to Jones Lang LaSalle’s 2013 National Commercial Real Estate Outlook. Experts from the firm’s Research group presented key findings from the report in its annual media webcast event Tuesday.

“The election itself doesn’t clear the air of the uncertainty in the marketplace,” said Ben BreslauJones Lang LaSalle’s Americas Research Managing Director. “We have reasonable confidence that some, or all, of the fiscal cliff may be averted, but the Euro crisis may get worse before it gets better, and will continue to drag on global confidence and the U.S. economy into 2013.”

A recession is unlikely in 2013, Jones Lang LaSalle’s researchers concluded, but businesses, lenders and investors are still waiting to see how legislators will deal with the fiscal cliff, which consists of tax cuts set to expire at the end of the year and federal spending decreases scheduled to begin in January. Most aspects of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, too, will be implemented starting in 2013.

“It takes time for policy action to translate into business activity,” Breslau said. “If we’re able to clear some of these hurdles without a big near term fiscal drag, the release of some pent up demand could accelerate growth in the second half of 2013.”

With a new recession unlikely, the forecasters called for moderate performance improvement in the multifamily, hotel, and industrial sectors nationwide, while balanced new construction and absorption will negate any net change in retail fundamentals. Growing bifurcation in the office market will increase rent growth and net absorption in urban markets driven by technology, healthcare and energy jobs, while occupancy and rent stagnate in most of the nation’s suburbs and in markets with little exposure to those growth industries.

2013 Commercial Real Estate Outlook Highlights

  • In office, a flight to efficiency is increasing demand for large floor plates and newer properties that help to attracts young talent and reduce tenants’ operating costs through occupancy rightsizing.
  • E-commerce and m-commerce, or purchases over mobile devices, is increasing demand for large distribution centers (500,000 square feet or more), with 36-foot clear heights and extra parking for labor-intensive picking of products and next-day delivery.
  • “Experience shopping,” and retail centers offering restaurants and entertainment to attract customers, will fair best in an otherwise challenged retail landscape.
  • Multifamily performance to remain healthy as renter population growth diminishes the threat of new deliveries. Investors to become less risk-averse as they seek higher returns in secondary markets.
  • Hotel revenues per room to increase between 4 percent and 6 percent in 2013, fueling heady pace of investment activity reached in second half of 2012. Lending for hotels to increase.
  • Total investment transaction volume to increase by 10 to 15 percent in 2013, continuing 2012’s slowed pace of trading following a 64 percent spike in 2011.

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