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CRE Niche Sector Valuations Rising, While Retail Takes A Hit

Over the last 12 months, the top-performing real estate sectors have been the niche plays of student housing and manufactured housing, as well as the more mainstream industrial sector, according to data from Green Street Advisors.

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Manufactured housing valuations were up significantly over the last 12 months.

Valuations for both manufactured housing and student housing gained 10% compared with a year ago, while industrial properties did even better: up 12% since last year, which is better than any other sector, Green Street reports.

Demand is high for industrial properties, with a resulting upward pressure on valuations, largely because of the growth of e-commerce

By contrast, retail properties took a beating, the company said. Mall valuations were down 9% and strip centers lost 3% of their value year over year, making them the only property sectors that recorded an annual loss in valuation, Green Street reports.

Even so, the broader commercial property market didn't fare particularly well. Over the last year, commercial property values as a whole have eked out only a 1% gain. Office properties were likewise up 1% in value, as were self-storage properties.

Apartment and hotel valuations gained more than the overall average: up 6% and 5%, respectively. 

Green Street tracks commercial property owned by REITs, which tend to own higher-quality properties than private landlords. The company's Commercial Property Price Index hit 100 in August 2007, and declined to a low of 61.2 in May 2009. Since then, the index has more than doubled, more or less plateauing since the end of 2016.

The plateau is partly due to rising interest rates, Green Street Senior Analyst Peter Rothemund told the Wall Street Journal

Investor demand for properties, and thus upward pressure on prices, has slacked off as investors worry that the current economic expansion is a little long in the tooth and could end soon.