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Suburbs Seeing Some Stability

Suburbs Seeing  Some Stability
Yesterday, Colliers Meredith & Grew did a rapid-fire review of the suburban markets, looking at investment sales, offices, labs, retail, and industrial. Vibrancy in credit markets points to more property sales in the next few quarters, while leasing and absorption seem to be improving in submarkets closer to Boston.
Colliers' Lisa Campoli
We snapped Colliers' Lisa Campoli at the post-report reception, where folks seemed in good spirits after she said investors have advanced from the ?tire kicking? stage of last year to being ?anxious to put money out.? In a stabilizing market, assets that are selling fall on two ends of the spectrum: core vs. distressed. What's lacking, Lisa notes, are the value-add deals in the middle. Of course, the holdup is still a scarcity of sellers willing to meet the market on pricing. But, she says, ?We expect more transactions in the next six to nine months.? Year-to-date, $910M in deals have closed and $1.1B are pending, making it likely that Boston will hit the $2B mark achieved in ?08.
Colliers' Pat Paladino, Chris Decembrele, and Tucker Hansen
Pat Paladino, Chris Decembrele, and Tucker Hansen spread the word about retail, industrial and labs. Pat says retail is ?weathering the storm.? In the past three months, there's been an ?uptick in [lease] deals before rents start to go up,? she says. The 7.8% vacancy rate is flat compared to '09 here, but better than the 10.9% nationally. The answer: the challenging permitting process that has erected high barrier to entry around the region and limited the supply of new space available. Sales also got a boost from a tax holiday and plenty of good weather (something that makes us tight-fisted New Englanders giddy). Among the most active tenants are food retailers/restaurants. Industrial is ?challenging ?, but demand is increasing. Suburban labs, 9.5% vacant,are signing leases, especially with companies leaving Cambridge and its high rents.
Suburbs Seeing  Some Stability
Christopher Lawrence (above) has a tough row to hoe covering the Rt. 495 submarket, where the vacancy rate is 23.7%, but net absorption in Q2 was a positive 360k SF. The good news is companies like Genzyme and ClincialWorks moving into new space. He also reports some growth among government defense contractors. The bad news is that others—like Charles River Labs, HP and EMC—are downsizing. John Carroll gave the download on offices around Rt. 128 where, he says, ?it's hard to find a lot of bad news.? Although vacancies are at 19.9%, leasing is strong. Investors are seeking well-located, well-leased, or vacant properties. The supply of Class A space is dwindling and sublease opportunities are limited.