Despite Iffy Capital Markets, Class A Buyers Remain

Class A properties continue to attract plenty of buyers in all four major commercial property sectors.  “A plethora of buyers interested in Class A properties are still in the market,” Kevin Nunnink, chairman of New York City-based Integra Realty Resources, Inc., told CPN today. “Of course, there aren’t as many buyers as there were before. The declining demand may be flattening prices and giving these investors opportunities to corner institutional grade property at a good price. This is very real.” Nunnink’s observation is one of the major conclusions of an IRR report on the commercial real estate markets released yesterday. Titled IRR-Viewpoint: Real Estate Value Trends 2008, the report sizes up this year’s investment markets for office, retail, industrial and multi-family. The data in the report has been culled from comprehensive market reports assembled by 500 real estate professionals working in 58 IRR offices across the United States.  In the office market, the data led IRR to project stable to slightly rising cap rates in both the Central Business District and suburban office markets. “No one is optimistic, thanks to the job market and increasing capital costs,” Nunnink (pictured) said. Still, investors in the market might like higher cap rates. In the retail sector, Viewpoint projects a slight downward move in cap rates in all categories, from malls to strip centers. In that market, cap rates at the end of 2007 ranged from about 5.5 percent for regional malls up to a high of 9 percent for strip centers. In a cautionary note, Viewpoint cited reports from developers of a decline in the tenant pipeline, with national retailers becoming more cautious in site selection and in the numbers of new stores opened. Viewpoint’s industrial projection calls for stable cap rates with rising rates characteristic of some of the market. But there is some good news in industrial. “The hot news in this category is that people with intermodal opportunities will see–regardless of what the economy does–more absorption, relatively speaking, than their competitors around the country,” Nunnink said. “Thanks to Asia, the industrial market is beginning to undergo dramatic changes.” Nunnink calls the multi-family sector the poster child of commercial real estate. “For the first time in 20 years, according to apartment developers, occupancies in November and December rivaled their summer occupancies,” he said. “That tells owners that there is a real opportunity to bump rents in the spring.”