The market for retail real estate in the Northeast from Westchester to Boston continues its steady growth since last year.. Boston, for example, is one of the hottest markets in the country and its retail sector steadily demonstrates a strong upside. With a vacancy rate of 3.8%, according to a second quarter report by Cushman & Wakefield, rents are facing an upward pressure as tenants battle for the limited available space. However, that may change as mixed-use developments increasingly come onto the market.
For investors, there are two main ways to include real estate in their portfolios: Real-estate investment trusts (REITs) and direct investment in real estate. While direct ownership in real estate offers far greater control over the investment and its performance, REITs provide exposure to real estate without actually owning property directly.
Boston apartment rents are up nearly 5% year-over-year. In New York, it’s the fifteenth consecutive month of year-over-year rent increases. In fact, rents are up in all 79 U.S. metro areas tracked by REIS. It’s also getting more expensive to rent in smaller cities across the Northeast. Good news for apartment investors, but what’s behind this record period of rent growth?
Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet L. Yellen told Congress Tuesday that the Fed still sees a need for its stimulus campaign while warning that the end is approaching. She said it is still concerned that despite the overall economic improvement, too many Americans continue to be unemployed or underemployed and wage growth is sluggish. She also noted that the Fed will not act until it “is reasonably confident that inflation will move back over the medium term toward our 2% objective.” Based on her remarks, it looks like the earliest interest rate hike would not be until the Fed holds its scheduled meeting at the end of July — if then.
While Boston continues to be one of the Top 10 commercial real estate markets in the country (as reported by the recent report “Emerging Trends in Real Estate® 2015,” co-published by PwC US and the Urban Land Institute) and maintains its focus for many investors, its outlying suburbs and Western Massachusetts are now becoming more and more attractive sub-markets.
With two months until the New Year, 2014 has shaped up to be the best year for Connecticut investment sales since the Great Recession. Over the past months, Northeast Private Client Group has closed a number of multifamily and retail transactions at aggressive values, including:
Moving north from our last blog on the Hartford, CT, market, we also see that the Greater Springfield area continues to show improvement, largely driven by some traditional drivers of growth — plus a dynamic newcomer.
This is the first of a two-part series on the Hartford-Springfield market. Today, multifamily and other investment properties in the Hartford, CT, market are trading more actively for the first time since the end of the recession. Part of this uptick is attributable to the higher returns that investors are seeing in secondary and tertiary markets. In fact, capitalization rates for multifamily properties in Hartford are typically 250 to 300 basis points above those for similar properties in other Connecticut cities, and up to 500 basis points above Boston and New York multifamily. While the cash returns for Hartford investors are higher than most, there is also renewed economic activity that should result in greater demand and rent growth for Hartford multifamily and commercial assets.
With Bill de Blasio taking over as the mayor of New York City after three-term pro development Mayor Michael Bloomberg, real estate industry professionals were generally puzzled about what direction the new mayor would take toward development in Manhattan as well as in the outer boroughs, like Brooklyn and the Bronx.
The CRE market continues to see brighter days. The volume of overall commercial real estate investment rose 14% last year as compared to 2012, but activity in the office building sector increased even more – by 17% — to more than $104 billion, according to the CoStar Group. Although this didn’t reach 2007’s peak office investment levels, it still demonstrates the return of strong investor interest in office property.