Multifamily, Hotels, Retail, Industrial Equally Awesome In Chicago In 2016
Unlike last year, when the big story was all about a record year for office building sales volume, 2016 in Chicago commercial real estate was great across the board. The multifamily, hotel, retail and industrial sectors especially strutted their stuff. Here are some of the driving trends our experts say defined 2016.
Hotels: Boosted By Tourism And Conventions, They're Changing The Market
Oxford Capital CEO John Rutledge has always been a believer in hotels as a catalyst for change in a neighborhood and told guests at our hospitality boom event last week that Chicago needs to look no further than Chicago's two biggest hotel markets: O'Hare and McCormick Place. The activity in McCormick Place, in particular, is bleeding over into the South Loop, since McCormick Place is maxed out on footprint. John believes Essex is well-positioned to capitalize on growing convention and tourism business with its Essex Inn redevelopment and Oxford's other downtown hotels.
Multifamily Leasing: A Tale Of Two Markets
Luxury Living Chicago managing broker Aaron Galvin (right, with Akara Partners CEO Rajen Shastri) told guests at BMAC Midwest that he spent the year catering to two different markets. In the downtown core and surrounding neighborhoods, the tail end of the Millennial generation continues to drive demand, while older Millennials are dominating rentals in the outlying neighborhoods. The demand for downtown luxury just outside of the urban core (a trend that Aaron predicted for this year) finally arrived in neighborhoods like West Town and Logan Square where TOD is popular.
Multifamily Investment: Strong Yields In Value-Add
As the Class-A downtown pipeline has become more packed, investors are chasing—and finding—better yields in Class-B properties in other parts of town. KIG managing partner Todd Stofflet said investors are especially bullish on Rogers Park, Uptown and Edgewater. Affluent renters in their mid- to late 30s are flocking to rentals in these neighborhoods, and five-year rent growth numbers are 12% (Rogers Park), 13% (Uptown) and 19% (Edgewater). Investors are finding ample on- and off-market opportunities in older buildings that can be rehabbed and complemented with amenities and mixed-use retail.
Retail Leasing: The Outlying Neighborhoods Are Hot
After years of out-of-town institutional investment in the downtown core, 2016 was the year where the suburbs finally attracted the attention of brokers, local investors and retailers, First Western Properties president Paul Tsakiris said. The South Side and southwest markets are pockets of brisk activity, as tenants are signing leases with favorable terms for them, including low or free rent in lieu of expensive TI packages. Landlords that struggled in the early years of the recovery now have more equity in their properties, as interest rates remain low and rent spreads have grown.
Retail Investment: Growing Caution
Pine Tree principal Peter Borzak tells Bisnow that institutional capital was tight for much of the year. Q1 started off sluggish, as investors had serious questions about where interest rates would move and where retail stands in the ongoing economic recovery. With no movement on interest rates, things began to pick up a bit in Q2 before more questions about the economy brought activity back to earth in Q3. Peter notes that loan transactions became more conservative as the year progressed.
Industrial: Could It Be Recession-Resistant?
The industrial sector isn't as sexy as other asset classes, but it may be the strongest performing sector in Chicago real estate this year, thanks to overwhelming demand and vacancy rates that are at 10-year lows and dropping. Avison Young principal Erik Foster said demand from e-commerce and distribution companies positively impacted values and increased asset pricing.
Chicago's location, transportation infrastructure and workforce made it an attractive market for foreign investment. From Jan. 1 through April 30 alone, foreign investors accounted for $84.3M in industrial sales volume.