CRE Snapshot: What To Expect In The 5 Property Sectors This Year
Experts are forecasting boosted GDP, corporate tax cuts, looser lending regulations and an overall improved economic outlook for the U.S. under the Trump administration. But it won’t be all sunshine and happiness just yet.
Trump’s expected policies will likely drive inflation upward, forcing the Fed to counteract by increasing the pace of interest rate hikes this year. These factors combine for a mixed economic outlook. Here’s a quick snapshot of how the five commercial property sectors are expected to fare this year, according to CBRE’s 2017 Office Outlook report.
Downtown office markets have led this cycle, but experts are projecting a shift in performance to suburban markets this year. Suburban vacancies are expected to increase a mere 10 basis points to 14.5% for the year, with rent growth exceeding 2%. This growth is thanks in large part to the shift in suburban development that is catering to Millennials and young professionals' live/work/play preferences. As for downtown markets, vacancies are projected to increase by 30 bps to 10.9%. It’s important to note that national occupancy in downtown office still far exceeds that of suburban markets.
This sector has been powered by robust growth in e-commerce and technological advancements like autonomous vehicles. And that's not going away. Availability remains at 15-year lows, net occupancy logged its 26th quarter of record gains as of Q3 and rents continue to climb toward an all-time high. But the sector is expected to cool a bit as user demand wanes this year, CBRE’s David Egan told us.
Retail is suffering — brick-and-mortar stores continue to close and consolidate stores while e-commerce increasingly grabs dollars. Keeping pace with past years, online sales are projected to grow at a 15.5% rate to 9.2% this year. Experts say to expect even more mixed-use lifestyle developments to compete. CBRE did say strong job gains will continue to benefit national retail rents, with community strip centers expected to grow by an annual average of 1.7%.
Save any political or economic disruptions, the hotel sector will benefit from increased leisure and business travel thanks to robust consumer confidence, a healthy labor market and wage growth. Hotel demand and supply are expected to see year-to-year growth that's mostly healthy, though some cities — such as Philadelphia, Minneapolis and Orlando — are looking at a supply-demand imbalance that will eat into profits. Also, competition from Airbnb and similar home-sharing sites will continue to steal sales this year.
Oncoming supply will remain the greatest threat to this sector this year. For the first time since the Great Recession, supply outpaced demand last year, and CBRE expects that will persist well into 2017. With urban infill seeing the greatest concentration of development, major gateway cities like San Francisco and New York are seeing shrinking rents in high-end apartments. Experts project Class-B and Class-C apartments will be less impacted by the oncoming supply and a safe bet for investors.