A Statement On Ukraine from Kevin Maggiacomo, SVN President and CEO

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SVN Specialty Awards: Innovator of the Year – Al Stepan

Recognizing the SVN Difference with Specialty Awards

SVN Innovator of the Year 2015If you read my recent blog post about the SVN Annual Conference highlights, you know that the SVN Specialty Awards recognize members of the SVN community who have distinguished themselves in 2015 by making significant impacts on the commercial real estate industry and beyond. The awards – which included Team Player of the Year, Ambassador of the Year, Collaborator of the Year, Trainer of the Year, Humanitarian of the Year, Prospector of the Year, Innovator of the Year, and Firm of the Year – looked beyond production results and instead focused on culture. The winners of this year’s SVN Specialty Awards each embody traits that the SVN culture values immensely: practicing collaboration, cooperation and conscious capitalism while excelling in commercial real estate.

SVN Innovator of the Year 2015 – Al Stepan

Al Stepan - SVN Innovator of the Year 2015

When it comes to treating an SVN franchise like a business, no one is more of an innovator than Al Stepan. He has led the organization in investing in bringing in outside specialists to support recruiting, which has allowed him to scale his teams. He was also a driving force behind the consolidation of our Denver and Fort Collins offices, positioning them to be a regional powerhouse. These are just a couple of the examples of thinking big and applying best business practices to the operation of an SVN franchise. And it’s an innovation that we can all learn from.

Al Stepan is a principal of SVN | Chicago Commercial and serves as a Managing Director along with Michael Thanasouras and Scott Maesel in Chicago, IL.


The SVN blog will be featuring one SVN Specialty Award winner every week for the next few weeks. Stay up to date with SVN and CRE industry news.

SVN Restaurant Resource Group Gears Up for 2016

Focusing on Mixed-Use Property, SVN Restaurant Resource Group Starts the Year with New Goals in Mind

After a record-setting year of sales and leasing volume, the SVN Restaurant Resource Group is heading into 2016 with refined focus on mixed-use assets. The team has identified 25 ‘high-opportunity’ retail corridors in Chicago and nearby transportation oriented suburbs.

Why Mixed-Use?

SVN Restaurant Resource GroupMixed-use properties in Cook County offer a unique tax advantage over strictly commercial properties. A mixed-use property’s assessed value is based on 10% of market value while a commercial property’s assessed value is based on 25% market value. Based solely on classification, two properties with identical market values may have dramatically different real estate tax liability.

Better federal tax depreciation benefits are also available for mixed-use property owners. For instance, if residential rentals account for more than 80% of the asset’s overall income, the property improvements are depreciated over a 27.5 year period versus a typical 39 year period.

Investors of mixed-use buildings are often entrepreneurial, making it a “natural fit for our personalities and results-driven market strategies,” as described by SVN Advisor Marcus Sullivan.

High-Opportunity Neighborhoods

SVN Restaurant Resource GroupSVN Advisor Tim Rasmussen details the methodology in determining the 25 target corridors: “We recognized several common characteristics in neighborhoods where our team and clients were most successful: well-defined retail corridors, shifting demographics, high walkability scores, and close proximity to rapid transit.”

It is estimated that over 50% of neighborhood retail/commercial space is occupied by restaurant and other food related business. This trend is likely to continue as traditional brick-and-mortar retailers dwindle in the wake of e-commerce. However, the SVN Resource Group concedes the shifting dynamics present repositioning opportunities for savvy investors and restaurateurs.

Top Tier, Middle Market

The SVN Restaurant Resource Group emphasizes assets valued between $500K- $5.0M. According to SVN Advisor, Jim Martin, “These tend to be fairly easy to finance with local and regional banks, i.e., the MB’s and Bridgeview Banks of the world.”

Martin explains the strategy is consistent with the mid-market world where SVN typically contends. “We rarely compete with the likes of CBRE or JLL, yet we’re able to leverage a national platform, the most sophisticated commercial real estate tools in the industry, and ultimately win the business.”

New Blood

Christian Peppler has joined the SVN Restaurant Resources Group and will provide advisory services for mixed-use property owners throughout the Greater Chicagoland Area. Christian brings six years of commercial real estate experience and has overseen $10M in real estate transactions.

About The SVN Restaurant Resource Group

SVN Restaurant Resource GroupThe SVN Restaurant Resource Group provides first-in-class advisory to clients in the foodservice and hospitality industry. Landlords, restaurant and nightclub operators, bakeries, caterers, hotels, food processors and manufacturers rely on the experience, local market knowledge, industry relationships, and technology advantages possessed by this highly specialized team of commercial real estate professionals. SVN has over 200 offices throughout the US, Mexico and Canada.

To learn more, visit the SVN Restaurants website here.

[bctt tweet=”“We’re able to leverage a national platform, the most sophisticated commercial real estate tools in the industry, and ultimately win the business.””]

2016 Commercial Real Estate Market Outlook

As we progress through the start of a new year, I am pleased to share my thoughts on the robust 12 months past and to offer my outlook for the commercial real estate market in 2016. Before I do, I would be remiss if I did not thank the SVN Advisors, staff, and fellow brokers for their contributions to driving our market forward in spite of changing times. I know that I speak for all SVN Advisors and staff when I wish you a prosperous year ahead.

The Year Ahead in the Commercial Real Estate Market

Uncertainty Breeding Opportunity

After several years of increasing domestic economic expansion and an ever-recovering and ever-growing real estate market, 2016 opens with the return of global economic uncertainty as China’s economic growth moderates, energy prices decline significantly, and geopolitical threats such as ISIS, pose a consistent threat to Europe and the rest of the world. While it remains unclear how today’s macroeconomic conditions will impact commercial real estate markets, there are two scenarios. The first is that global market weakness will impact domestic financial markets, the second is that market impacts remain moderate and commercial real estate remains stable and continues to grow due to strengths in core fundamentals. We believe that the second scenario is more probable given the unique opportunities being posed by forces – like demographic shifts – that are proceeding independently of macroeconomic trends.

Manhattan - commercial real estate market
Manhattan, NY

As for the commercial real estate markets themselves, 2015 was an amazing year. Real Capital Analytics reported a total of $533 billion in sales representing a 23% gain over 2014, and the second highest level of investment volume over time behind the peak $573 billion in activity seen in 2007. Further, the Moody’s/RCA CPPI has given an initial estimate of 12% year over year price appreciation in 2015. These trends are more likely than not to persist throughout 2016 for several reasons. First, global pressures will have two effects:  One, keeping interest rates low (despite the best intentions of the Federal Reserve) and keeping foreign money flowing to the United States, a decent amount of which will flow to real estate. Second, fundamentals are strong – in fact, many markets in almost all property type segments experienced rising lease rates and falling occupancies for most of 2015 and are forecast to continue such growth. Third, new supply remains balanced with demand growth and thus oversupply seems unlikely. The lack of increasing new supply given the growth of rental rates amidst falling vacancies can largely be attributed to rising construction costs and relatively tight lending standards for new development.

What happens in the broader United States macro economy is far more difficult to predict. First, the decline in oil and energy prices is absolutely going to cause highly localized and specific harm to those sectors and in turn cause some level of harm to the real estate markets dependent on energy production, such as those in Texas and the Midwest. Historically, oil price declines acted like a tax break or stimulus package for consumers and businesses and the overall economy thus prospered; since the United States has significantly increased its production of oil and energy following the pre-recession oil price spikes, the effect is less certain today. High price markets like those found in the Northeast and California and parts of Florida are likely to benefit the most from energy price declines as it lowers transit and utilities costs and could boost employment via the stimulus effect.

Overall, we expect that the United States economy will grow more slowly in 2016 than 2015 while still remaining positive and thus avoiding recession. Therefore, we do not see any major risks to the commercial real estate markets as long as fundamentals remain relatively strong.

Investment Outlook

commercial real estate market - chicago
Chicago, IL

Commercial real estate investors who made acquisitions during the downturn are now reaping the benefits of taking such risks. Despite, or in fact, because of these significant gains, many investors and market participants are now openly opining on the possibility of a new downturn in the real estate asset cycle. We do not find such arguments to be very compelling for several reasons. First, many of the causal conditions present before the 2008 economic turmoil are not present in 2016 and are not likely to appear in the near-term horizon. The most meaningful indicator of a potential bubble or overpricing of commercial real estate is the spread between cap rates and underlying treasury rates. According to RCA, cap rates averaged 6.5% nationwide during 2015, while the 10-year treasury rate averaged in the low 2% range for most of 2015 and early 2016. This implies a spread of over 4% (or 400 basis points). Today’s spreads are significantly higher than those observed pre-crash where they averaged slightly below 200 basis points and even below 100 basis points for class A assets in top markets according to the commercial real estate economics researchers at the Lakemont Group. In summary, the market is not presenting the same risk/return profile observed before the 2007 peak of pricing. Further, debt availability is far more constrained post crisis with total leverage utilization down significantly (in fact, the percentage of all equity transactions in many markets is staggering) and therefore the risk of default is relatively low for most investors and deals. Thus, we believe pricing in commercial real estate markets does not represent a new bubble or other significant source of risk.

This conclusion is further strengthened by our belief that interest rates will not experience significant upward pressure in 2016. The energy sector declines and overall global pressures will likely start impacting GDP and employment statistics by the end of the first quarter of 2016.  The likely result will be the Federal Reserve slowing or even pausing further rate increases in 2016. Debt markets should remain open and active in 2016 as they did in 2015. If debt costs do not rise and fundamentals remain stable or growing (even if at slower rates than in 2015), it is not logical to expect price declines. In fact, we expect modest price appreciation for most markets.

Top Markets for Property Sales in 2015

(Ranked in terms of total dollar volume)

  1. Manhattan – $55.9B
  2. Los Angeles -$27.6B
  3. Chicago – $22.6B
  4. Dallas – $19.5B
  5. Atlanta – $16.9B
  6. Boston – $16.4B
  7. Seattle – $14.9B
  8. San Francisco – $14.3B
  9. San Jose – $12.5B
  10. Phoenix – $12.1B
Source: Real Capital Analytics

The list of top markets for commercial real estate sales in 2015 appears relatively similar to lists for the past 5 years with the new additions of Phoenix and San Jose. These markets attract institutional capital from private equity, REITs, and foreign buyers and have been the most competitive to find deals, especially with attractive yields. Overall, given the increasing level of global macroeconomic uncertainty, we expect these and related top tier markets to gather an increasing share of commercial real estate investment activity in 2016 as money moves to areas of perceived lowest risk.

Top Growth Markets for Property Sales in 2015

(Ranked in terms of YOY percentage increase in sales volume)

  1. DC/Virginia Burbs – 121%
  2. Baltimore – 71%
  3. Orange County – 70%
  4. Northern New Jersey – 69%
  5. Seattle – 68%
  6. Orlando – 68%
  7. Portland – 61%
  8. Central California – 60%
  9. Inland Empire – 58%
  10. Phoenix – 54%
Source: Real Capital Analytics

The above list of markets may present some of the best opportunities for growth and price appreciation given their relative strength. Capital is starting to rotate to these markets and further price increases may potentially follow. There will likely be expansion in cap rate spreads between primary and secondary markets in 2016, especially if foreign capital flows increase as predicted and those funds seek assets predominantly in only the largest markets. Thus, yield-seeking investors will likely find the best opportunities in the non-top tier markets (such as most of those on the list above).

Miami - commercial real estate market
Miami, FL

Beyond market, property sector is equally important in terms of forecasting investment performance. According to RCA, the apartment sector has been the top performer, up 38% from the peak (defined as Q4 ’07), followed by office, up 18% from the peak. Retail and industrial have lagged at -1% from peak and up 3% from peak respectively but performed well in recent years. We find it impractical to give overall guidance for property sectors on a nationwide basis and encourage investors to work with Advisors who are knowledgeable about each sector in their respective market as finding the best performer can be challenging. Industrial properties offer a prime example of such quandaries – industrial real estate in energy markets should face decreased space demand as that sector contracts in 2016. By contrast, industrial distribution facilities in areas of high population growth (like Florida) may over-perform as retailers shift distribution from stores to warehouses as online sales continue to dominate.

Trends to Watch

Perhaps the most discussed trend in commercial real estate in recent years has been the Millennials, the age cohort who are changing work and living arrangements across the nation. A relatively less covered demographic trend of greater size and perhaps importance is the aging population. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau and analyses by the Lakemont Group, the overall population in the United States is forecast to grow by 11.55% in the next 15 years while the population above the age of 75 is forecast to grow 69.21%. In fact, those over 75 years old will represent almost 10% of the population by 2030 (those above 65 will be over 20% as well). While many real estate market participants correctly use these statistics to justify the need for more senior housing, there are actually many other real estate  opportunities to service this growing segment of the population. Market rate apartments with features and locations this demographic wants, can use, and can afford is one such example. Properties to house medical services and activity retail is another. We encourage investors to think long-term when making acquisition, disposition, and asset management decisions. This is one long-term trend that could shape demand for many property types for decades into the future.

Concluding Thoughts

2016 has started with higher levels of volatility in United States equity markets as a result of justifiably significant fears of global economic pressures causing falling demand domestically. While some investors are taking a fearful stance, we see a different outcome. It is probable that global uncertainty will serve to keep interest rates low and allow for growth of fundamentals in the commercial real estate markets and in the broader domestic economy. Furthermore, even in the event of a domestic economic slowdown, the global uncertainty could lead to lower interest rates and even greater inflows of foreign capital, supporting the domestic commercial real estate market (the current risk / reward proposition of U.S. investment is unbeatable).

Commercial Real Estate Market - Los Angeles
Los Angeles, CA

If such occurs, it is likely for 2016 to be another strong year for commercial real estate transaction volume, net operating income growth, and even price appreciation; however, expect all to grow at a slower rate in 2016 than in 2015. Investors and property owners should be aware that today’s commercial real estate economy has little in common with previous downturns. As such, we believe that the risk and return profile of commercial real estate is still attractive in 2016 and is likely to remain so for at least the near-term horizon.

 


Follow Kevin Maggiacomo on Twitter: @Maggiacomo.

[bctt tweet=”We believe that the risk and return profile of commercial real estate is still attractive in 2016. #CRE “]

Chicago, IL | 2015 Top #CRE Markets to Watch: Office

Sperry Van Ness International Corporation’s (SVNIC) 2015 Market Update Reports assess the current state of the national commercial real estate market, and identify micro-trends within specific geographic regions and industries for 2015. Today we are delving into the 2015 Top Office Markets to Watch. Not the largest or the most actively contested markets, the 2015 Office Markets to Watch are each at an important juncture that presents unique opportunities for investment. Together, they reflect the diversity of trends that is driving the economy and commercial real estate performance in markets across the country.

Top Office Market to Watch: Chicago, IL

Chicago: 2015 Office Markets to WatchThe transformation of Chicago’s River North submarket echoes the metamorphoses of many up-and-coming submarkets in the United States. With an eclectic mix of industrial-era warehouses and lofts, plus plenty of bus and subway connections, effective rents in the submarket have spiked since 2012, following a path similar to Manhattan’s Midtown South tech district. Tech companies like crowd-sourced reviewer Yelp, online coupon provider Groupon, online payment processor Braintree, and the digital marketing division of McDonald’s, are located in buildings like the Reid Murdoch Center, a former food-processing plant, and the Mart, an Art Deco warehouse that formerly housed Marshall Field. Several of Chicago’s other submarkets are also recasting themselves, with the Fulton Market area leading the pack. The former Fulton Market Cold Storage warehouse (now flagged as 1kFulton) was repositioned as more than 500,000 square feet of office space, headlined by tenants like Google, tech incubator Sandbox Industries, and Chicago-based bicycle component producer, SRAM Corporation. Several projects, including boutique hotels, restaurants, and retail spaces, are now underway around 1kFulton, vying for locations proximate to Google’s Midwest regional headquarters. While traditional business stalwarts still prefer the Loop, there are many rapidly improving submarkets in downtown Chicago that are offering compelling opportunities for small- and mid-cap investors.

To read more on Chicago and other top office markets, download the full version of the 2015 Office Market Update report here.

2015 Office Market Outlook

It’s a different world out there.

It requires a different kind of commercial real estate firm working on your behalf in order to be successful. The Lipsey Company has ranked the Sperry Van Ness® organization as one of the most recognized commercial real estate brands in the US for a reason—we know how to deliver a certainty of execution for our clients. Sperry Van Ness International Corporation is one of the largest commercial real estate franchisors with more than 180 locations in 200 markets.

Chicago, IL | 2015 Top #CRE Markets to Watch: Industrial

Sperry Van Ness International Corporation’s (SVNIC) 2015 Market Update Reports assess the current state of the national commercial real estate market, and identify micro-trends within specific geographic regions and industries for 2015. Today we are delving into the 2015 Top Industrial Markets to Watch. Not the largest or the most actively contested markets, the 2015 Industrial Markets to Watch are each at an important juncture that presents unique opportunities for investment. Together, they reflect the diversity of trends that is driving the economy and commercial real estate performance in markets across the country.

Top Industrial Market to Watch: Chicago, IL

Chicago: 2015 Industrial Markets to WatchThe nation’s largest industrial market in terms of inventory, Chicago is also one its strongest. Vacancy rates have been declining consistently for over three years, reaching 6.5% in the first quarter of 2015 according to Chandan Economics’ tracking of mortgage-financed properties. Lower vacancy rates and one of the strongest rates of asking rent growth in the country have prompted an increase in development activity. Investors should not be too concerned about the nearly 10 million square feet of space under construction as of early 2015, almost half of which is spec. While that level of activity could overwhelm a smaller market, it represents less than 1% of Chicago’s massive inventory of industrial space.

The drivers of demand for space in the Windy City and its surroundings are as varied as the region’s economy. Warehouses, logistics, distribution, and fulfillment centers, as well as flex space and data centers are all benefiting from growth in demand. Investors may be frustrated by the degree of competition for high quality assets. Prices reflect the market’s prospects, with cap rates falling to below 6% in 2014 and early 2015.

To read more on Chicago and other top industrial markets, download the full version of the 2015 Industrial Market Update report here.

industrial_thumbnail

It’s a different world out there.

It requires a different kind of commercial real estate firm working on your behalf in order to be successful. The Lipsey Company has ranked the Sperry Van Ness® organization as one of the most recognized commercial real estate brands in the US for a reason—we know how to deliver a certainty of execution for our clients. Sperry Van Ness International Corporation is one of the largest commercial real estate franchisors with more than 180 locations in 200 markets.

Chicago, IL | 2014 Top CRE Markets to Watch : Office

Sperry Van Ness International Corporation’s (SVNIC) 2014 Top Markets to Watch Reports assess the current state of the national commercial real estate market, and identify micro-trends within specific geographic regions and industries for 2014. Today we are delving into the 2014 Top Office Markets to Watch. Not the largest, or the most actively contested markets, the 2014 Office Markets to Watch are each at an important juncture that presents unique opportunities for investment. Together, they reflect the diversity of trends that is driving the economy and commercial real estate performance in markets across the country.

TOP OFFICE MARKET TO WATCH : Chicago, Illinois

chicago-1342075949YmtElevated but improving unemployment of 8.3 percent is a reminder that Chicago is lagging other major markets on the road to economic recovery. The office sector entered 2014 with nearly a fifth of its office space available for lease or sublease, but leasing activity appears to be accelerating. The central business district is attracting tenants from the suburbs as the urbanization trend takes hold, with employers moving closer to employees that live downtown. Office rents are exhibiting the volatility typical at the bottom of a market cycle, and posted a slight year-over-year decline at the end of 2013. Chicago’s diverse economy positions it for accelerated hiring as the national recovery gains momentum, but that growth is unlikely to bring substantial absorption of office space in 2014. For office investors seeking a bargain on assets in a top tier city, non-trophy assets in Chicago may harbor good opportunities with the potential to increase value as the local economic recovery finds its stride.

To read more on Chicago, and other top office markets, download the full version of the Top Office Markets to Watch report below.

It’s a different world out there.

It requires a different kind of commercial real estate firm working on your behalf in order to be successful. The Lipsey Company has ranked the Sperry Van Ness® organization as one of the most recognized commercial real estate brands in the US for a reason—we know how to deliver a certainty of execution for our clients. Sperry Van Ness International Corporation is one of the largest commercial real estate franchisers with more than 180 locations in 200 markets.

Download the Top Trends and Markets to Watch Reports

Chandon-Office-CoverOffice Trends and Markets to Watch
Industrial Trends and Markets to Watch
Retail Trends and Markets to Watch
Commerical Real Estate Trends and Markets to Watch
Apartment Trends and Markets to Watch

5 for Friday with Jimena Sayavedra of Sperry Van Ness Chicago Commercial

This week, our 5 for Friday features Jimena Sayavedra, an Associate Advisor with Sperry Van Ness Chicago Commercial based out of Chicago, Illinois.

Jimena Sayavedra | Associate Advisor |SVN Chicago Commercial
Jimena Sayavedra | Associate Advisor |SVN Chicago Commercial

1. What is your geographic market and product specialty?
My geographic focus is Metropolitan Chicago industrial corridors and my product specialty is Industrial sales and leasing.

2. What’s your latest best practice tip that you can share?
I believe that targeted well-planned networking is a very powerful tool to grow connections not only for career advancement but especially to grow our real estate practice. Either face-to-face networking or via social media, It creates opportunities to initiate conversations to connect with people and discuss problems and solutions with sellers, buyers, landlords, and tenants.

Another foundation of any real estate practice is cold calling, which goes hand-and-hand with networking, since both require excellent communication skills, industry knowledge and confidence. Tackling these two tasks I think are fundamental steps to develop and maintain a strong database of clients, which is the groundwork for my practice as a commercial real estate advisor.

3. What’s been the biggest change over on how you run your business in the past decade?
Since I am newer to the brokerage business, I would say definitely social media is a game changer in all that we do. It makes us more efficient because it allows us initiating or following up on connections and relationships  with more people.  For us in the commercial real estate business, it is a great advantage to connect digitally with members within companies, groups, associations where we can start conversations and find leads. I think it is a great complement to the permanent cold calling that is part of our daily practice.

I am now focusing on prospecting and will follow with developing my “presence.”

4. What business book do you like to recommend to your colleagues?
“Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg. I think Sandberg with this book has opened up so many issues related to women and  work and how women tend to hold back when we actually have everything to succeed in the business world and bring more women to leadership positions. I think a lot of what she says in her book is very applicable to women in the male dominated real estate sector, where we women bring skills that add great value to this profession.

5. What’s a fun fact that not everyone knows about you?
I am a marathon runner, I have completed 18 marathons, including 2 Boston, 10 Chicago, 1 New York among others. I just finished Boston.

*All Sperry Van Ness offices are independently owned and operated.

Five for Friday: The collaborator who puts 'multiple eyes' on listings

Neil Johnson of Sperry Van Ness/Landmark Commercial Real Estate in Geneva, Ill. talks about the benefits that come with the team approach – and the move from hitchhiker to advisor in this week’s Five for Friday.  

Neil Johnson, managing director/broker at Sperry Van Ness / Landmark Advisors
Neil Johnson, managing director/broker at Sperry Van Ness / Landmark Advisors

1. What is your geographic market and product specialty? 

The focus of my brokerage work for 15 years has been in Kane County, Ill. and the surrounding suburban areas about one hour west of downtown Chicago. As an office, our advisors handle retail, office, and industrial properties – plus vacant land. We do quite a bit of leasing, which has created relationships for some of our best investment sale opportunities.

2. What’s your latest best practice tip that you can share?

Collaboration on listings with the other advisors in my office has proven to be particularly productive. There are many benefits to the team approach, including better service to our clients.  We get the benefit of multiple eyes looking at each stage of the listing or transaction. It is also more fun to work as a team.

3. What’s been the biggest changeover on how you run your business in the past decade?

We are trying to be more selective on the quality and size of opportunities that we take on. Otherwise, it is too easy to race around chasing every small deal that turns up. We are working hard to increase our focus on investment sales, and larger lease deals, especially now that the market is picking up again.

4. What business book do you like to recommend to your colleagues?

I try to spend some time reading the Bible every day. Scripture can be helpful in addressing the challenges of  human relationships.

5. What’s a fun fact that not everyone knows about you? 

In my early 20s, I hitchhiked more than 20,000 miles, across the U.S. and Europe. To the casual observer, I’m sure I appeared to be a typecast hippie.

*All Sperry Van Ness® offices are independently owned and operated.