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Equity Office Daily Brief: April 18, 2017

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Daily Brief

April 18, 2017

  EquilityOffice

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Improving U.S. Economics, Modest Rent Growth Forecast Through 2019

Urban Land

 

The latest survey of U.S. real estate economists showed a marked increase in expected economic measures, most likely due to federal proposals to reform the tax code, reduce regulatory burdens, and invest in infrastructure. Compared with the same survey from six...

 


L.A. office market off to slow start this year but still healthy

Los Angeles Times

 

Los Angeles County’s office market has been expanding and rents have been rising for years — and thanks to companies like Netflix, that dynamic continued in the first quarter. The Los Gatos, Calif., movie-streaming company is taking all the space of a...

 



BLOG & ONLINE NEWS

 

Proposed Community Plan For Santa Monica Laid Out

Bisnow

 

The look of Santa Monica could change, according to a new downtown community plan introduced last week after six years in the making. As part of the plan, buildings would be limited to four or five stories in areas near the...

 


California Small Business Are Being Absorbed

GlobeSt.com

 

The sales of small and mid-sized businesses are in the rise in California. In March, the State of California saw a record number of small business transactions, and the City of Los Angeles alone recorded significant increases in transactions, up 4.1%...

 


Your Energy Disclosure Requirements Are Changing

GlobeSt.com

 

Energy disclosure laws are changing. AB 1103 has been repealed and replaced with AB 802, a new bill that will require property owners to report and publicly disclose energy usage data. The bill is still under revision, but will likely come...

 

FULL TEXT


Improving U.S. Economics, Modest Rent Growth Forecast Through 2019

Urban Land

 

The latest survey of U.S. real estate economists showed a marked increase in expected economic measures, most likely due to federal proposals to reform the tax code, reduce regulatory burdens, and invest in infrastructure. Compared with the same survey from six months ago, real estate economists have higher expectations about gross domestic product (GDP) growth, employment growth, and housing starts. Consistent with a stronger economy, forecasts for interest rates and inflation have moved higher.

But key real estate metrics, such as NCREIF Property Index (NPI) returns and transaction volumes, showed little change from six months ago.

These results are based on the semiannual ULI Real Estate Consensus Forecast, prepared by the ULI Center for Capital Markets and Real Estate. The survey was completed by 53 economists and analysts at 39 leading real estate organizations in March and early April 2017. These results will be reviewed in a member’s only webinar on Wednesday, April 19.

In summary, respondents have raised expectations about economic growth through 2019. While greater job and income growth will be positive for U.S. real estate markets, forecasters were reluctant to upgrade real estate fundamentals or returns. New supply in the pipeline and/or higher interest rates are likely keeping real estate economists cautious, but more likely realistic as uncertainty about future growth remains a concern.

Some of the highlights from the survey, which covers the 2017–2019 forecast period, include the following:

-U.S. GDP will grow by 2.3 percent in 2017 and 2.6 percent in 2018, increases of 20 and 60 basis points (bps), respectively, since the last forecast. Forecasts for both years are at or above the 20-year average of 2.3 percent, with growth moderating to 2 percent in 2019.

-Net job growth should average 1.9 million per year through 2019, compared with a long-term average of 1.2 million. Compared with the last consensus forecast, expected job growth is up for both 2017 and 2018. Job growth is forecast at 2.2 million in 2017 but tapers down to 1.55 million in 2019, possibly due to concerns about labor availability, as the unemployment rate drops to 4.5 percent in 2018.

-Expected yields on the ten-year U.S. Treasury note rose sharply in the most recent forecast, after falling in the prior survey. The forecast year-end (YE) yield rose 60 bps to 2.8 percent for 2017, and 70 bps to 3.2 percent in 2018. These forecasts represent a sizable move up from the current rate of 2.3 percent in mid-April 2017. The Federal Reserve has initiated gradual increases in the short-term Fed Funds rate, which may be a driver of higher long-term rates.

-Real estate transaction volumes will fall to $450 billion in 2017, a decline of $39 billion (8 percent) from the 2016 level. The 2017 forecast is unchanged from the fall forecast. Transaction volumes will stay strong in 2018 and 2019 at $450 billion and $430 billion, respectively, remaining well above the long-term average of $293 billion. Real Capital Analytics reports that U.S. transactions are down over 30 percent year-to-date (YTD) as of February.  Many attribute the decline to the rise in interest rates and political uncertainty in the fourth quarter of 2016 and expect transactions to pick up as the year progresses.

-Commercial real estate prices as measured by the Moody’s/RCA Commercial Property Price Index (CPPI) are projected to rise by an average of 3.8 percent per year over the next three years (5.0 percent, 3.5 percent, and 3.0 percent, respectively), compared with a long-term average increase of 5.7 percent. This is a marked drop from 2016 (9.1 percent rise) and up marginally from the prior forecast. Through March, the CPPI Index is up 7.7 percent year over year, with industrial properties up by 10.9 percent, while retail properties have fallen by 1.2 percent.

-Rent growth is forecast to be modest over the next three years. Industrial rent growth is forecast to average 3.8 percent, followed by office (2.3 percent), hotels (2.3 percent revenue per available room growth), retail (2.2 percent), and apartments (2 percent). Industrial and retail rent forecasts have increased since the last Consensus Forecast, while the other property types are flat or down.

-William Maher

L.A. office market off to slow start this year but still healthy

Los Angeles Times

 

Los Angeles County’s office market has been expanding and rents have been rising for years — and thanks to companies like Netflix, that dynamic continued in the first quarter.

The Los Gatos, Calif., movie-streaming company is taking all the space of a large Hollywood building that opened its doors in the beginning of the year.

Terms of the lease with developer Hudson Pacific Properties for the 323,000-square-foot Icon building were not disclosed, but landlords typically ask for about $5.50 a square foot in monthly rent for new Hollywood offices, well above the county-wide rate.

That rate hit an average of $3.13 per square foot a month in the first quarter, up from $3.03 in the prior quarter and $3 in the same period a year earlier, according to real estate brokerage CBRE Group Inc.

Rents have been rising since 2013 and some observers expect the market to cool, but Petra Durnin, CBRE’s director of research and analysis, said landlords remain in the driver’s seat.

“The market is still healthy,” she said. “I know the sentiment out there is that things are slowing down, but we still see quite a bit of road ahead of us in the market.”

New jobs are still being created in the region, albeit at a tepid pace. That means “there is room for a little rent growth and for vacancy to come down a bit more,” Durnin said.

New office construction grew the market by nearly 750,000 square feet last quarter, a jump from the 100,000 square feet delivered in the previous quarter and 460,000 square feet a year earlier. There are now about 205 million square feet of offices in Los Angeles County, according to CBRE.

Overall vacancy was 14.1% in the first quarter, a rise from 12.8% at the end of 2016 but down slightly from 14.8% a year ago.

-Roger Vincent

Proposed Community Plan For Santa Monica Laid Out

Bisnow

 

The look of Santa Monica could change, according to a new downtown community plan introduced last week after six years in the making. As part of the plan, buildings would be limited to four or five stories in areas near the Third Street Promenade. Housing development would be encouraged near the Expo Line, allowing mixed-use projects to go as high as seven stories, the Santa Monica Daily Press reports. The plan could make way for 2,500 housing units to be built over the next 20 years, according to the Santa Monica Lookout. A concrete plan could be in place by the end of the summer, following six meetings of the planning commission. The plan also has to go before the city council for final approval.

 

-Karen Jordan

California Small Business Are Being Absorbed

GlobeSt.com

 

The sales of small and mid-sized businesses are in the rise in California. In March, the State of California saw a record number of small business transactions, and the City of Los Angeles alone recorded significant increases in transactions, up 4.1% from the previous month and 4.4% year-over-year, according to BizBen.com, an index that records California’s small and mid-sized business data.

“Approximately 403 small businesses were sold in the Los Angeles County Area out of 1,553 total overall sales of small businesses in the entire State of California,” Siegel, founder and president of BizBen.com tells GlobeSt.com. “I am seeing more activity in the overall marketplace with all participants in transactions.” Those participants include business buyers, business sellers, business brokers and agents.

While this is a month-over-month and year-over-year increase, Los Angeles small business transactions peaked in January 2017 with 443 total recorded. Of those, the City of Los Angeles has the most small-business transactions recorded, according to Siegel, with 100 total transactions in the month of March. The second highest ranked city was Torrance with only 16 small business transactions. In the State of California, there have been 1,553 small business transactions already this year, and more than 1,200 have occurred in Los Angeles County.

The rise of small business transactions has some key economic implications, namely that it suggests an increase in sentiment from both the buyers and the sellers of small businesses. However, Siegel also outlined several other economic factors that affected the sales of small businesses, including the stabilization of interest rates, which have made it easier for buyers to obtain financing, steady home prices and the fact that “SBA loan financing is easier to obtain to buy a business.”

BizBen.com highlighted 20 of the most popular business types traded in the month of March. Branded gas stations and car washes topped the list, followed by automated laundry mats. Interestingly, smoke and vape shops and medical marijuana dispensaries also made the list, ranked 14 and 16 respectively. This is a trend we are likely to see more in California following the recent legalization of marijuana. Restaurants also dominated the list, with everything from full-service restaurants to fast-food chains and pizza restaurants. The rise of restaurants has been a clear trend in the retail sector and has become an Internet resistance tenant for shopping centers, so it isn’t surprising there has been interest in these business models.

-Kelsi Maree Borland

Your Energy Disclosure Requirements Are Changing

GlobeSt.com

 

Energy disclosure laws are changing. AB 1103 has been repealed and replaced with AB 802, a new bill that will require property owners to report and publicly disclose energy usage data. The bill is still under revision, but will likely come into effect sometime in the second half of the year. To find out more about the new regulations and what building owners need to know to comply, we sat down with Emily Murray, an attorney at Allen Matkins, for an exclusive interview.

GlobeSt.com: How are energy use disclosure requirements going to change under AB 802?

Emily Murray: Under the prior energy use disclosure law, Assembly Bill 1103 (AB 1103), building owners were required to make energy use disclosures in connection with the sale, lease, or financing of certain buildings.  AB 1103 was repealed on January 1, 2016, and replaced with Assembly Bill 802 (AB 802), codified as Public Resource Code section 25402.10.

AB 802 eliminates the private disclosure made between parties to a sale, lease, or finance transaction under AB 1103, and instead requires reporting and public disclosure of certain energy usage data for covered buildings.  Specifically, AB 802 requires that utility companies maintain at least 12 months of energy usage data for covered buildings, and provide that data to a building owner or operator upon request.  Certain energy usage data will be required to be reported to the California Energy Commission (CEC) and will be publically available.  AB 802 also applies to multifamily buildings, whereas AB 1103 did not.

AB 802 requires the CEC to develop regulations to govern the delivery of energy usage data to the CEC and the public disclosure of such data.  Pending the development of those regulations, and following the repeal of AB 1103, there are currently no statewide energy use disclosure requirements.  The CEC released its proposed regulations on February 23, 2017, and will hold a public hearing regarding the regulations on July 12, 2017.  The CEC expects to finalize the regulations in 2017, following the public hearing.

GlobeSt.com: Why do these regulations apply only to 50,000 square foot buildings?

Murray: In enacting AB 802, the California legislature stated that the intent of the bill was to “create a benchmarking and disclosure program through which building owners of commercial and multifamily buildings above 50,000 square feet gross floor area will better understand their energy consumption through standardized energy use metrics.”  However, the actual text of Public Resource Code section 25402.10 does not contain a 50,000 square foot minimum for the disclosure requirement.  Nevertheless, the CEC’s proposed implementing regulations follow the stated intent of the Legislature, and only apply to building of 50,000 square feet or more.

GlobeSt.com: What do property owners need to know to comply with these new regulations?

Murray: Assuming the CEC’s proposed regulations are ultimately enacted in their current form, by June 1, 2018 (June 1, 2019, for residential buildings), and every year thereafter, the owners of buildings covered by the regulations will be required to log onto the Energy Star website and complete a reporting process for each building.

Specifically, all owners of buildings required to disclose under AB 802 will have to log onto the Energy Star website and follow the prompts to register the building, even in situations where required tenant permission is lacking or the building’s energy use has been determined a trade secret (in such cases, the building owner will only disclose general information about the building and not its energy use).  Building owners will be responsible for uploading data from the utility companies if the utility companies did not upload the data directly onto Energy Star.

Once building owners have disclosed the required information through the Energy Star website, they will have completed their disclosure obligations for the year.  Energy data collected in 2019 (2020 for residential buildings) and yearly thereafter will be published on a public website.

In contrast to AB 1103, building owners will have no duty to make specific disclosures to prospective buyers, lessees, or lenders.  Presumably, such parties will be able to review energy information directly on the public website.

GlobeSt.com: What needs to happen to makes these official?

Murray: The CEC released the proposed regulations on February 23, 2017.  As indicated in the CEC Notice of Proposed Action, the public comment period on the proposed regulations closed on April 10.  There will be a public hearing on July 12, 2017.  Thereafter, the CEC could finalize and adopt the proposed regulations, or the agency could make changes.  If the CEC makes substantive changes, the agency must circulate the revised regulations at least 15 days prior to adoption.

Accordingly, the regulations won’t be final until at least some time after July 12, 2017.  If substantial revisions are made, it could be several months after July.  However, the CEC does expect to enact the regulations in 2017.

-Kelsi Maree Borland

Daily Brief April 18, 2017 unsubscribe

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