With vacancy rates modestly falling and rents moderately rising in commercial real estate sectors, market fundamentals have improved, but financing remains a challenge for small business, according to the National Association of Realtors® quarterly commercial real estate forecast.
NAR chief economist, said the market is showing an uneven recovery.
“The wheels appear to be greased for the big players, but not so much
for small business,” he said. “Overall, the commercial sectors are
firming nicely, with multifamily continuing to show the best
National vacancy rates over the coming year are expected to decline
0.1 percentage point in the office market, 0.5 point in industrial, and
0.3 point for retail; however, the average multifamily vacancy rate is
forecast to rise 0.2 percentage point, with that sector still showing
the tightest availability and biggest rent increases.
A companion report, the Commercial Real Estate 2013 Lending Survey,
shows widely varying availability of lending capital depending on
property size, with a significant disadvantage for buyers of smaller
Commercial sales volume of major properties valued at $2.5 million
and above increased 24 percent in 2012 to $294 billion. The uptrend
continued during the first quarter of 2013, with a $72.8 billion volume
that is 35 percent above the first quarter of 2012. Sixteen markets in
the first quarter experienced triple digit gains.
Commercial mortgage-backed securities regained market share in 2012,
accounting for 22 percent of lending for major commercial properties. A
comparable source was government agencies, followed by national banks,
insurance companies and regional banks.
Realtor® commercial members report 85 percent of their
clients’ transactions are for purchases under $2 million – generally
small businesses. These transactions are financed largely by private
investors, along with local and regional banks, marking a bifurcation in
capital availability based on property value.
“Despite the improvement for major commercial properties, 52 percent of Realtors®
report they had a commercial transaction fail in the past year due to a
lack of financing,” Yun said. “In addition, 42 percent of respondents
said clients failed to complete a refinancing. Credit for small
business remains unnecessarily tight.”
Commercial members report that new and proposed U.S. legislative and
regulatory initiatives, and regulatory uncertainty for financial
institutions, account for the lack of capital in commercial lending for
NAR’s latest Commercial Real Estate Outlook offers
overall projections for four major commercial sectors and analyzes
quarterly data in the office, industrial, retail and multifamily
markets. Historic data for metro areas were provided by REIS, Inc., a source of commercial real estate performance information.