Category Archives: Office Buildings

Property Management: How Important Is It?

I just wanted to take a minute to re-affirm the importance of having the right Property Management Company on your team. I read this article recently in the Sun Sentinel Newspaper in South Florida (November 28, 2014 issue) that really brings to light how important they are.

On July 17, 2012 a slaying took place on a property in which one tenant shot and killed another for no apparent reason. The family of the slain tenant sued the property management company for negligence, arguing they should have known the tenant was a risk and never should have rented his family an apartment. The management company recently settled the suit for $1.5 million dollars.

Florida Law does not require a landlord to run a background screening but does recommend doing so. The management company did run a background screening which revealed the tenant had rented an apartment in another of their complexes and was evicted for causing disturbances and making death threats. The failure by the property manager was in not actually reading the screening which they had paid for and had in their possession.

This was a large management company that this happened to, so don’t think just because they are big they must be good. The situation could have been avoided and a family kept in tact if they would have simply read what they paid to have done, a simple background screening.

Next to buying a property right the most important thing is the management company that is going to run your property and protect your asset. I have heard of several other horror stories just like this one, most of them occurred because as property owners we didn’t do a proper background screening of our property management company.

Don’t be a statistic, do your research and check not only the management company but also the property manager they will be placing on your property. Also, don’t always choose by the price they charge; sometimes the cheapest one might be the best one for the job but not always. Just like the most expensive isn’t always the best choice. Don’t be afraid to pay a little more to get the quality  and piece of mind you are looking for. I promise it will be cheaper in the long run.

Here is a helpful link for property management companies and managers      http://www.irem.org/

In the left column click on “Member & AMO Directories”

 

Office Fundamentals Continue To Improve

By Katie Hinderer - GlobeSt.com

DALLAS–The local office market has seen continuing improvement in market fundamentals in the second quarter of 2014. According to the latest report by Cushman & Wakefield tenant demand is stronger than it has been since 2006.

Direct and overall absorption has reached 2 million square feet in 2014, this is an increase of 37% compared to the 1.5 million square feet absorbed during the same time period in 2013. Major tenants who took space this year include Santander Consumer Finance, Perkins Coie, Lockton Companies, Liberty Mutual, Kohl’s, Nationstar Mortgage, Conifer Solutions, Ernst & Young, Time Warner Cable, Bell Helicopter and Trend HR.

To date there has been 8.3 million square feet of leasing activity, an increase of 9.8%. Class A space accounted for more than half of the leased space (57.3%).

Rental rates have also been rising this year. Asking full-service rental rates rose 3.9% to $21.19 per square foot. Class A space saw the greatest increase, 5.4%, rising to $26.22 per square feet.

During this period 2.5 million square feet of construction projects were completed. Of that, 1.4 million square feet were speculative projects. An additional 5.1 million square feet of office projects are currently under construction, including 12 speculative buildings, which will total 2.6 million square feet. Of this spec space, 30.7% has already been pre-leased. During the third quarter, an additional 2 million square feet of projects will break ground.

Office Market Remains Stuck in a Rut

 and  - NREIonline.com

The national vacancy rate for office properties remained unchanged during the fourth quarter at 16.9 percent. Given how slowly the office sector’s recovery has progressed, this is not necessarily reason for worry.

Since the third quarter of 2007 the national vacancy rate hasn’t declined by more than 10 basis points in any given quarter. For all of 2013, the vacancy rate fell by just 20 basis points, roughly comparable to the 30 basis point decline in 2012.

National vacancies remain elevated at 440 basis points above the sector’s cyclical low, recorded in the third quarter of 2007, before the recession began that December. Tepid supply growth and lackluster demand have remained largely in balance during this recovery, accounting for the slow pace of vacancy compression.

 

 

With most employment growth coming from low-paying, low-skilled jobs that do not utilize office space, demand remains weak. The amount of occupied stock rose by 8.9 million sq. ft. in the fourth quarter. This is a meager increase from the 7.6 million sq. ft. that were absorbed during the third quarter. This was, however, largely due to a jump in completions. For the quarter, 9.3 million sq. ft. came on-line, up from last quarter’s 6.3 million sq. ft. of new construction.

This dynamic between net absorption and construction held throughout the year. For 2013, quarterly net absorption averaged 7.1 million sq. ft., a 69 percent increase from 2012′s average of 4.2 million sq. ft. For construction, the quarterly average was 6.5 million sq. ft., a 109 percent increase from 2012′s average of 3.1. Demand certainly increased in 2013, with office buildings entering the market mostly occupied (or leasing up quickly). This is in line with strict requirements for pre-leasing from lenders that provide construction and development financing.

The bottom line is that until the growth rate in high-wage, high-skill jobs that require office space accelerates expect slack demand for existing inventory to be the norm and vacancy compression to be slow but steady.

Rent growth plods along

Asking and effective rents both grew by 0.7 percent during the fourth quarter. Asking and effective rents have now risen for 13 consecutive quarters. During 2013 the average asking rent increased by 2.1 percent while effective rent grew by 2.2 percent. This was somewhat better than 2012′s performance when asking rents grew by 1.8 percent while effective rents grew by 2.0 percent.

 

 

Unfortunately, there is too much vacant space for market dynamics to be conducive to significant rent growth. With the national vacancy rate at 16.9 percent and declining slowly, landlords remain unable to drive asking rents upward or pull back on lease concessions. That does not mean that rents are unable to slowly creep up—as they did in 2013—but stronger, healthier rent growth is only possible at far lower vacancy rates such as were observed before the recession. Reis’ historical data indicates that national vacancies need to compress by another 300 basis points before rent growth accelerates on a broader basis. Given the pace of vacancy declines, it will take another few years to get there.

Top metros reap outsized gains

In the current market environment, weakness at the national level does belie strength found in a handful of metropolitan markets and selected submarkets. With the technology and energy industries  continuing to grow and create a meaningful amount of high-wage office-using jobs, the performance of markets with a concentration of companies in these industries continues to excel. This is a familiar trend over the last few years.  The markets with the highest year-over-year effective rent growth in the fourth quarter were San Jose (+5.0 percent), San Francisco (+4.5 percent), New York (+4.2 percent), Houston (+3.7 percent), Seattle (+3.0 percent), Boston (+2.9 percent) andDallas (+2.8 percent).  Also at the top of the list was Orange County (+2.8 percent), a metro we haven’t mentioned much.  A combination of recovering tourism and an increase in demand for space from the healthcare industry has helped support the metro’s office market. Orange County ranked fourth in terms of quarterly effective rent growth (+1.3 percent) in the last three months of the year.

New York has reclaimed the title of the tightest market from Washington, D.C., with a 9.9 percent vacancy rate at the end of the fourth quarter of 2013. Washington fell to second place at 10.3 percent. While both markets experienced vacancy rate increases during the quarter, Washington’s rise is more troubling. While New York’s was likely a short-term aberration, Washington-based employers continue to bear the brunt of budget cuts and political brinkmanship. Although the budget has been passed and the shutdown proved to be ephemeral, haggling over the state of the federal government’s finances is far from over.

Near-term office outlook

The outlook for 2014 is for moderate improvement versus 2013. Many companies refrained from hiring in 2013 because of so much uncertainty. As this fog of uncertainty dissipates, particularly surrounding policy making in Washington, D.C., it should serve as a catalyst for hiring. We expect that the labor market, including the professional, managerial, technical and sales-related occupations that typically reside in office buildings, will improve throughout the year. Therefore, we anticipate that vacancy compression will increase modestly, to about 40 basis points.

Rent growth should continue to accelerate next year, rising by close to 3 percent on an asking rent basis and by over 3 percent on an effective rent basis. It has taken the economy and the office market years to claw their way back from the depths of the worst recession since the 1930s. 2014 is not likely to be the breakout year, but there are reasons to be more optimistic.

Brad Doremus is senior analyst, and Victor Calanog is head of research and economics, for New York-based research firm Reis.