While uneven, the recovery of the industrial real estate sector has slowly begun throughout 2011 and experts expect growth to continue into 2012 and beyond. According to the National Real Estate Investor, larger distribution centers are experiencing the most growth while outlying markets continue to have high vacancy rates and are drawing less interest. The quality of product available to investors has been hit or miss, but over the course of the year, there has definitely been a lot more of it.
Property owners in the state of Michigan have seen property taxes fall nearly $900 million between 2007 and 2010, amounting to a reduction of $1.6 billion when adjusted for inflation. According to Bridge Michigan, though many have not recognized the benefits, these "Shadow Cuts" have eased the burden on residents and businesses in recent years. Property tax revenues overall in the state have fallen $880.3 million between 2007 and 2010, a 6% decline.
Commercial real estate markets have been relatively even in 2011, but according to the National Association of Realtors, improving fundamentals could mean a more positive trend in 2012. The market is expected to follow along the same lines as the economy as vacancy rates should trend lower and rents should experience a modest rise in the coming year. Overall, from the fourth quarter of this year to the fourth quarter of 2012, vacancies are forecasted to decline 0.6% in office, 0.4% in industrial, 0.8% in retail, and 0.7% in multi-family.
The retail industry was one of the more favored targets for lending in the third quarter as banks and life insurance companies increased their efforts towards commercial properties. According to Retail Traffic, loan organizations for retail properties increased 37% between the second and third quarters in 2011, and the average loan size on retail assets also went up to $20.9 million from $15 million in the first quarter.
Pennsylvania is one of few states that recognizes the right of the taxing jurisdiction to initiate a real property tax assessment appeal on any tax parcel it sees fit. According to the Institute for Professionals in Taxation (IPT) in their November 2011 tax report, this statutory right has been in existence for several years but was just recently reincorporated in the Consolidated County Assessment Code, effective January 1, 2011.
Bay Area counties are beginning to apply transfer taxes, or monies drawn by local governments when deeds for real property are transferred by sale or other transaction, to business entity transfers that include real property. Until now, the real property attached to the sale of a business that is transferred during the sale was not included under the transfer tax law. Now, Bay Area counties are rewriting their ordinances to include these transfers of real property.
The Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) recent analysis of construction trends indicates that 2012 will see slight but gradual progress in the U.S. commercial and industrial construction industry. According to Virginia Business, construction spending is expected to grow 2.4% in 2012 following a 2.4% decrease in 2011. Commercial construction employment is also expected to increase by 0.4% in 2012 following 0.6% growth in 2011.
Paradigm Tax Group recently sponsored and presented at the iGlobal Hospitality & Lodging Investment Summit 2011 in New York City. The one-day event provided a snapshot of the current health and future outlook for the global hospitality industry. Through a series of focused panel discussions, the event examined emerging trends and opportunities, along with the costs, benefits, risks and rewards of hospitality investments now and into the foreseeable future.
The student housing sub-sector of the red hot multi-family real estate industry is attracting several developers and investors for reasons different than those of its parent. According to GlobeSt.com, the main reason for the success in student housing is the sheer number of kids going to college is increasing steadily due to the fact that there are more kids turning 18 than ever before. One issue still remains though in the form of universities facing budget issues, leading to difficulties in raising capital to renovate or build new facilities on campus.
Pontiac, Michigan Emergency Manager Lou Schimmel has been forced to raise property taxes in order to pay bills the city cannot afford. According to mlive.com, potential and current lawsuits over a $1.9 million property tax refund to General Motors, and more than $4 million owed to the police and fire pension and voluntary employee benefit association, will likely cause property taxes to rise.
Increasing vacancy rates, low rents and even lower market values are really hurting commercial real estate owners, and the additions of excessive property taxes are bringing many of them to the limit. According to the National Real Estate Investor, local governments that are also cash-strapped are quick to levy large tax rates on struggling properties.
After just recently regaining the title of the number one city for commercial real estate investment in the world, New York City real estate continues to remain strong despite the rise in development costs and sputtering of financial markets. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, Manhattan office prices were unchanged for a fifth straight month in October after coming within 18% of their mid-2007 peak, as Europe's debt crisis, bank job cuts and the economic slowdown limited demand.
As debts come due with financing still available, hotel foreclosures are expected to have a huge increase over the course of 2012. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, the wave of commercial mortgage-backed securities needing replacement debt (about $21.7 billion on 232 hotels due in 2012) is going to be a monumental problem, with the end result being an unavoidable large amount of hotels being foreclosed.
Despite the turnarounds achieved by other commercial real estate sectors, retail has yet to have shown any consistent signs of recovery. No matter the type of retail, whether it is strip centers, regional malls or power centers, vacancies have risen to and remained at levels unseen in at least a decade. According to the National Real Estate Investor, retail rent growth has remained close to zero or mildly negative, knocking back rents to levels last observed three to four years ago.
Allegheny County (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) property owners may not get a chance to file informal appeals of their assessments before the new values are certified. Informal appeals in the past have assisted in assuring that certified values are fair and accurate when calculating property tax bills. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, a revised schedule for completing the controversial countywide reassessment might not allow time for informal challenges, though city residents will still be able to make formal appeals.
Commercial property loans across the nation rose to their highest level since 2007 during the third quarter as banks, insurers and government-backed finance companies increased lending. According to Bloomberg, new loans for commercial real estate climbed 98% from a year earlier and 10% from the second quarter. The total dollar volume of loans rose to around $31 billion from $28 billion the previous quarter. The surge in loan originations likely is focused on Class A real estate in major markets.
Future investing in commercial real estate through REITs appears to be a worthwhile risk as they are benefitting from very strong indicators. According to Investment News, very low interest rates continuing for the next couple years, positive spread between cost of buying real estate and financing it, and the very little amount of new supply of real estate, are all factors that should lead to a resurgence of investment in REITs.
Key factors that affect the value of commercial real estate, such as demographics, employment, income and housing, are expecting only minimal growth in the Las Vegas, Nevada area over the next two years. According to the National Real Estate Investor, real estate values for all asset classes are at historic lows in the area, causing business owners' confidence in the local economy to turn even more pessimistic and continue its downward slide throughout 2011.
Washington DC will require developers of new commercial buildings larger than 50,000 square feet, or substantial renovations to existing buildings, to meet strict environmental standards once the final phase of the District's 'Green Building Act' kicks in on January 1, 2012. According to the Washington Business Journal, failure to meet the requirements will result in a fine of up to $3 million depending on the project's size.
Senior housing is increasingly being viewed among investors as a safe real estate play, causing prices to rise and bidding to become competitive. According to the National Real Estate Investor, now is an excellent time for owners to monetize their investment as values of top projects today have increased compared to two years ago by no less than 20%. This is backed by prices for top senior housing properties fetching $170,141 per unit today compared to $101,000 per unit two years ago.