After Peaking in 2015, U.S. Workplace Sales Pattern Lower, Down 17% in 2017

As More Owners of Core, Downtown Possessions Hold Onto Buildings for the Long Run, Suburban and Secondary Markets Bring In More Interest

Imagined: Marina Heights, a five-building, two million-square-foot workplace complex in Tempe, AZ cost $930M in December, among the largest office trades of the year.

U.S. workplace sales volume dropped 17 percent in 2015, continuing a pattern considering that 2015, as financiers were stymied by an absence of offerings in the nation’s most desirable markets as once-numrous offerings of core, downtown properties dried up.

CoStar’s research study shows that $112 billion in workplace homes traded hands nationwide in 2017, compared to $134 billion in 2016. That 17 percent – or $22 billion – drop was mostly attributable to sales declines in New york city, where transactions dropped by $12.6 billion – about 45 percent – to $15.6 billion last year, compared with $28.2 billion in 2016.

San Francisco, too, the darling of the early-stage real estate healing, saw a sharp decline. Just $4.6 billion worth of offices traded last year, compared to $8 billion in 2016, a 42 percent drop. Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle, Atlanta and Dallas all saw sales sink 20 percent or more.

Those declines were rather offset by big sales increases in Houston – where sales nearly doubled to $3.4 billion; San Jose, which was up 60 percent to $4 billion; and higher Washington, D.C., which leapt 15 percent to $9.8 billion.

It’s clear now that the marketplace peaked in 2015, when $156 billion worth of offices were sold, according to CoStar research. CoStar’s databases capture the majority of sales of $1 million and up, and seek to consist of smaller sized offers as well. (CoStar researchers continue to gather deals that closed in 2017 in the early months of the New Year. Overall sales volume is anticipated to rise a little and be modified as needed.)

While it’s true that lease growth is decreasing in most major markets, in part by an influx of new supply, according to CoStar’s 2018 office market projection, office professionals aren’t chalking up the sales decline to investor care about economic principles in big cities.

“There is no shortage of capital for the international gateway West Coast markets of Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle and Boston,” said Kevin Shannon, Newmark Knight Frank’s head of workplace sales and an experienced office broker in Los Angeles. “Capital wants more core product in those markets, but the core CBD inventory is not as robust. Pricing is still very beneficial in all of those markets however the potential stock is slimmer.”

Inning accordance with many market experts, much of the current buyers of office properties in downtown markets are REITS, sovereign wealth funds and core funds that plan on long-lasting holds. They aren’t being lured by the high-pricing for those core properties.

Even if they were lured, says CoStar’s Managing Director of Portfolio Techniques Hans Nordby, reinvesting the profits is a difficulty.

“With trading volumes decreasing over the previous year, owners are asking themselves – ‘If I offer a pretty good possession now, will I have the ability to purchase another property that fits my strategy with the money I get back?'”, he says. “Finally, in some markets, value development has actually flattened. As a result, the values financed a year back might be lower today, incenting owners to hold off selling till rates enhances.”

CoStar’s 2018 workplace market forecast predicts slowing need for workplace in many major markets, implying lease development and other basics – and residential or commercial property worth development – will likely flatten.

On the other hand, the suburban and secondary markets are outshining CBD markets in leasing and rent growth, inning accordance with CoStar information. 3 of the 10 largest workplace deals of in 2015 remained in New york city, but Charlotte, Houston and Tempe, AZ, all saw a minimum of one offer larger than $650 million.

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