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Waiting On The Correction? It May Have Already Happened

There is a strong possibility that the correction has already taken place in today's commercial real estate market.

Kilroy Realty Corp. CEO John Kilroy and Eastdil Secured President Michael Van Konynenburg at Allen Matkins View From The Top in LA
Kilroy Realty Corp. CEO John Kilroy and Eastdil Secured President Michael Van Konynenburg at Allen Matkins View From The Top

At eight years in, real estate is experiencing one of its longest recoveries, though growth has been relatively flat in the past year to 18 months, Eastdil Secured President Michael Van Konynenburg said at this week's Allen Matkins View From The Top event in LA.

A recession already may have occurred given the volatility from China, oil, high yields, North Korea, CMBS drought, Brexit and the presidential election.

"Could that have been the correction for the cycle, frankly, given how slow growth has been through this recovery?" he said.

He also asked if there is too much of a focus on the cycle given the global numbers.

Eastdil Secured  president Van Konynenburg
Eastdil Secured President Michael Van Konynenburg at Allen Matkins View From The Top Event

"We are clearly in the strongest position for growth globally that we've had in at least 10 years," Van Konynenburg said.

Consumer confidence is at a 16-year high, there is optimism where new business and small business are concerned and unemployment is back to 15-year lows. 

But those positives have not yielded the expected boost. The last four months have been trending down.

"Despite having oil stabilized, despite having record low unemployment, inflation is surprisingly under control," Van Konynenburg said.

Where deals are concerned, office is down about 24% and retail is down about 37%, according to Van Konynenburg. Only industrial is up in terms of volume, he said.

Kilroy Realty Corp. CEO and Chairman of the Board John Kilroy
Kilroy Realty Corp. CEO John Kilroy at Allen Matkins View From The Top

Kilroy Realty Corp. CEO John Kilroy, who spoke after Van Konynenberg at the event, said changes are brewing.

"There will be a correction, and there will be opportunity in the future," he said. "I just don't know when and how big, but I feel it coming."

Kilroy Realty is a big player on the West Coast, including in Southern California, Northern California and Seattle. The company has done $14B worth of deals and repositioning in the last seven years, Kilroy said.

Kilroy Realty's projects include Salesforce's new headquarters in San Francisco, the Flower Mart in that city and Box's headquarters in Redwood City, Hollywood's Academy Square and Columbia Square, which houses offices for companies including Viacom, Black Entertainment Television and MTV. Kilroy Realty bought the 22-story, 323,922 SF Sunset Media Center, at 6255 Sunset Blvd. in LA, about five years ago.

Columbia Square in Hollywood, Calif.
Columbia Square in Hollywood

Kilroy said the company does not really consider itself to be an office developer.

"We consider ourselves providers of stimulating workplaces that are attractive to the companies that are growing," he said.

It is important to keep the communities and the people being served in mind, he said.

"At the end of the day, at least in our clientele, the only reason they have real estate is they've got to put people in them, and they want to have real estate that is going to help them attract and retain the most valuable resource: their people."

Hear more about office trends and the outlook for office at the Bisnow West Coast Office Expo Sept. 19 at the Hotel Nikko in San Francisco.