United States real estate markets hold up well: Savills

United States real estate markets hold up well: Savills
United States real estate markets hold up well: Savills

The last 12 months has brought a dose of healthy moderation to the US economy, according to Savills’ latest report.

Investors and lenders forced a recalibration of high-flying tech firms and oil and gas prices found a floor.

There seems to be some convergence in residential and commercial property markets as well – pricing in luxury markets is levelling off.

In comparison to the volatility in equity markets, real estate in the US held up very well. Office property sales in the US totalled $124 billion through November of this year, roughly 4 percent below the $129.6 billion in the first 11 months of 2015.

This slight decline comes as no surprise.

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United States real estate markets hold up well: Savills

Many of the trophy assets in gateway markets such as Manhattan and Chicago changed hands in 2014 and 2015, the novelty of the industrial sector has worn off, and there simply are not as many institutional- grade or conversion opportunities in secondary or tertiary markets to keep pace with the gateway markets.

Unlike the fundamentals underlying retail sales and office markets this is not a demand deficiency – it is a supply shortage.

In this sense investment sales are performing a bit like labour markets – investors and top employers have been turning over every stone in every market.

So far, most investors seem to be maintaining appropriate selectivity.

Many are following the demographic upside to Sunbelt markets such as the Carolinas as well as Mountain West markets including Salt Lake City and Las Vegas.

Steady population and job growth and controlled construction activity in these markets leaves some room for NOI growth in the next couple of years.

Europe has seen a similar phenomenon - volume is up significantly in the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden but there are only so many investment grade assets in these markets.

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United States real estate markets hold up well: Savills

The “most-favoured market” status of some gateways is slipping slightly.

Most buyers are showing disdain for gateway markets such as Manhattan and Washington DC, where demand is running short of growing supply.

On the other hand, they have remained active in Boston and Los Angeles, where the life science and entertainment/social media sectors continue to grow.

Boston’s market fundamentals are in fact among the strongest in country and appear as though they have more to run than San Francisco, which has seen a recent spike in sublet supply and drop-off in leasing.

Similarly, Los Angeles has seen its strongest leasing volume in a decade.

Office property sales have surged more than 75 percent during 2016 from 2015 levels.

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United States real estate markets hold up well: Savills

Finally, buyers are acknowledging that some of the traditionally “low barrier to entry” markets that were always seen as a risk due to chronic overbuilding may have matured in this cycle.

Atlanta and Dallas/Fort Worth stand out as markets that are reaping the rewards of a controlled development pipeline.

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