November 8, 2009

Yikes.. I do not think that I would want to be a commercial real-estate investor in the United States right now… or maybe I would, and could find some good deals? Property values at a fraction of what they once were, rents are down, and the general market is rough.

But, not all markets are all that bad! According to the Urban Land Institute:

A snapshot of the top five markets ranked by survey respondents:

Washington D.C. scores the highest marks during a recession. While hard-pressed lenders pull back in most cities, major insurers and big banks have taken a long term view and are actually providing financing for new deals. Bethesda, home to the National Institutes of Health, should benefit from increased bio-medical spending and Virginia markets, inside the Beltway, are expected to suffer only modest erosion relative to past downturns. Survey respondents expect suburban vacancies to advance well into the high teens further out.

San Francisco. Despite its formidable barrier to entry attributes, this 24-hour gateway will take investors on a ride of volatile pricing, occupancies, and rents. An expanding regional tech industry, fed by nearby Silicon Valley, should help. The report ranks this city one of the top buys for apartments, warehouse, office and hotels.

Austin. A Texas growth bastion, Austin’s low state taxes and a pro business environment are expected to contribute to future growth and continuing corporate relocations. Austin fits the “brainpower” model with its state capital, large state university, and offshoot tech and software businesses.

Boston is a solid market as compelling economic drivers—premier educational institutions, life science companies, and high tech business—reinforce investors’ long-term conviction. Downtown apartment vacancies remain well under 10 percent and condo/house pricing “remains stiff.”

New York offers savvy investors opportunity and more affordable costs over the long term. Midtown availability rates are predicted to skyrocket from mid single digits into the mid-teens as office rents plummet 40 percent or more. Co-op pricing is expected to sink 25 percent and a shakeout continues among condo developers who built million dollar plus apartments in fringe districts— sales of those units likely won’t close without substantial markdowns. The pace of market recovery depends on the hammered banking industry, the report cites.

And, the other five:

6. Houston
7. Seattle
8. Raleigh/Durham
9. Denver
10. San Jose

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