Making the Most of a Changing Market

The investment scene has taken on a very different look in the Orange County industrial market of late, says Rob Neal, managing partner of Hager Pacific Properties, an investment firm that owns approximately 1.5 million square feet of Orange County industrial space. Indeed, it has essentially become a waiting game, as many sellers still want to sell their properties at pre-credit crunch prices, while buyers are thinking they can swing a better deal.“It’s like an eighth grade dance,” Neal said. “Everyone’s sitting on opposite sides of the room.”Neal is seeing more industrial deals come a cropper.  “We’ve been getting calls, where we’ve been told ‘We’ve had a deal fall through. Are you interested?’ We’ve seen that in the last 60 days, and we didn’t see that happen at all in the last three years.”As an all-cash buyer, he sees advantages for Hager Pacific in this market shift. “We could acquire a property 20 percent below asking price, and we can close a deal in 10 days,” he said.But while he sees a shift in the investment dynamics, he is bullish about industrial properties in Orange County.“This is a pretty strong and growing market, and there’s really no ability to add industrial stock,” he said.