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CRE Valuations Rebound From Slow Start To The Year, With Multifamily Pricing Gains Taking The Lead


Despite the Federal Reserve’s concerns about rising commercial real estate prices, research shows U.S. commercial valuations rose a mere 0.2% in February.

That is a minor increase in commercial pricing compared to January, when pricing remained flat, according to Ten-X’s CRE Nowcast, which uses proprietary technology, Google trends data and investor surveys to determine what's happening with CRE pricing in real time.


In January, office, retail and industrial markets experienced a contraction in growth. On an annual basis, commercial real estate pricing is up 8.5% for February compared to the year-ago quarter, though that robust growth has slowed considerably this year, with some experts talking about the industry reaching its cyclical peak.

Of the five property sectors, multifamily saw the strongest growth month-to-month, with pricing up 1.4% in February thanks to healthy fundamentals despite the onslaught of high-end supply expected this year. Yardi Matrix experts project 320,000 new units will come online in 2017, the most to hit during this cycle. Most of this supply falls within a handful of the sector’s largest metros in the Northeast and West — with New York City and San Francisco already seeing drops in rents as the new supply takes its toll — and all of these new apartments are on the high end of the spectrum.

“After a lengthy period of robust growth, pricing across commercial real estate has entered a period of lethargy during the last three months,” Ten-X chief economist Peter Muoio said. “While property valuations did tick up slightly, even the standout apartment market has begun to show signs of weakening in major cities, where a huge infusion of supply appears to have finally caught up with demand.”


Though office and industrial pricing rose a bit this month too, the sectors’ growth was minimal. Office pricing increased 0.2%, a rebound from the past two flat months, and industrial was up 0.4%. Industrial markets continue to experience record net occupancy gains and drops in vacancy rates, but some experts foresee a slowdown this year as users draw back on their rapid and robust investment to see how things play out, causing the strength of industrial demand to decelerate a bit. The anticipated growth deceleration will have little to do with economic factors. Demand continues to outpace supply, and major retailers and users persist in their scramble for warehouse and distribution space nearer to customers. 

Hotel and retail remained the weakest links this month, with pricing in both sectors contracting. Hotel pricing dropped 0.8% from the previous month and 4.9% from a year ago, while retail pricing fell 0.5% for the month and 6.2% from a year ago.

“While February represented a small step in the right direction, the industry will need to count on increased confidence from investors to regain its momentum,” Muoio said.