Professional and Personal: IREM Houston Offers Unique Networking and Educational Opportunities

Six years into her career in commercial real estate, Kaci Hancock walked into her first luncheon for the Houston chapter of Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM). “I remember thinking, ‘Oh, my gosh. This is so overwhelming. I don’t belong here. I don’t fit here,” said Hancock. “Then Jo D. walked up to me.” Jo D. Miller, the chapter’s executive director, introduced Hancock to some of the others in the room, warmly welcoming the then-assistant property manager into the IREM family. “That was a key moment in my IREM life. If it hadn’t been for Jo D. taking the initiative or noticing that there was a new person in the room who was looking a little lost, I probably wouldn’t have come back,” Hancock said. “Because of that moment, I am now the 2020 president!” Click to read more at

Texas Economic Forecast for 2021

Moderator: Reid Wilson, Wilson Cribbs & Goren. Panelists: John Hammond,
Riverway Title; Patrick Duffy, Colliers International; Robert Cromwell, Moody Rambin; Josh Friedlander, NewQuest Properties; Stewart Geise, CBRE Austin; Corey Ferguson, Raintree Commercial; Scott Norton, Texamerica Center.

In spite of the COVID troubles of 2020, there are a lot of “green shoots” in
commercial real estate in Texas, and 2021 promises to be a year of renewal and opportunity, with new COVID-inspired efficiencies. Each quarter this year should be better. That said, there will also be a lot of rough spots between borrowers and lenders, landlords and tenants, evictions and rent deferrals/forgiveness, and so on. Overall, it may be ’23 or ’24 before full return to stabilization. Companies and employees from higher cost of living states are moving to Texas cities, which will create new needs here for transit and other forms of mobility and public services.

• Real estate opportunity funds are raising billions of dollars, and are looking for opportunities
• Even with the onset of COVID early in 2020, most pending real estate
transactions DID close as forecast
• Real estate lawyers are busy as landlords and tenants alike face debt stress, and create plans for new development
• Big question which will be answered as we move forward into the year: what kind of space do tenants really want for their employees, and for the continued dynamism of their companies? The trend is not yet clear to landlords or tenants; how will landlords react to tenants’ changing needs when the tenants themselves do not know what how their needs will develop?
• Employees may be “elevator-averse” well into the future, and this will impact high-rise office settings; trends are gently pointing away from CBD
and to less dense settings in the suburbs; there is a lot of vacant office space on the market; some tenants are even configuring to larger SF in their offices to increase distancing. Click to read more at

Commentary: Are Californians Moving to Texas Because of Our Lax COVID-19 Rules?

Huge California influencers like Lauryn Evarts Bosstick (@theskinnyconfidential), Sazan Hendrix (@sazan), Anna Victoria (@annavictoria) and celebrities like James Van Der Beek keep moving to Austin, and I kind of hate it? I put a question mark there because honestly I don’t really know how I feel but I can tell you something feels off about it. Over the last 10 months or so I’ve noticed a large influx of really big influencers and celebrities (of all sizes) packing up and leaving California for Austin. And when I started digging into the why, it seems they all of a sudden thought Austin was the place to be — in the middle of a global pandemic no less. I found similar reasons across the board. Most of them listed “cheap” housing/land prices, this idea that Austin is a thriving utopia not hit by COVID-19 or any other issues, the overall inexpensiveness of Austin, and lack of COVID-19 restrictions. I watched Instagram stories of one large influencer who said she loved how cheap everything in Texas was. I listened to an author share how great it would be for his kids to go to school in person, an option he didn’t have in California. I watched one influencer sit inside a well known hotel in Austin and express that the thing she was most looking forward to in her move was dining indoors. I read a Facebook post by one celebrity who said Texas offered the conservative values he was looking for and less COVID-19 restrictions than California. I listened to a podcast/influencer couple with over 1 million followers on Instagram talk about how many businesses in Austin were thriving because they didn’t have COVID-19 restrictions like the ones in California, and they also mentioned how excited they were to eat indoors. I watched and listened as influencers and other Californians of privilege went on and on about why they chose to move to Austin and I wondered what planet these people lived on. Click to read more at

Austin Ranked No. 9 Overall on CBRE’s Inaugural U.S. Development Opportunity Index

Austin – Jan. 27, 2021 – Austin offers one of the most favorable development markets for commercial construction in the U.S. according to CBRE’s U.S. Development Opportunity Index. The region secured the ninth overall spot on the inaugural list with sector rankings of fifth for retail development opportunities, sixth for office, seventh for multifamily and 18th for industrial. The report, which analyzed the top 50 U.S. markets by population, scored markets based on four performance categories: construction costs, fundamental strength of existing supply, prior cycle performance and property forecast. “As the population of the greater Austin area is on pace to grow 25% or more in the next 10 years, construction in the area will need to keep up with the additional demand for commercial real estate,” Brian Jarrett, Senior Director with CBRE Project Management. “We expect construction pricing will remain highly competitive due to number and quality of construction firms in the area. There are fantastic general contractors that not only specialize in nearly every construction type, but also specialize in nearly every project size.” Jarrett added that Austin’s projected growth can be attributed to several factors. “In addition to Texas’ business-friendly environment, the greater Austin area has plenty of affordable land and a great labor market. Combine that with great schools, affordable housing options and a consistently strong job market, it’s no wonder that top companies continue to relocate to the region.” Click to read more at

Office, Retail Space Under Construction Grows in The Woodlands Area Alongside Growing Vacancies

As of early January, office and retail vacancies in The Woodlands area were higher than they were the previous year at the same time. However, industrial vacancies decreased. At the same time, the amount of retail and office space under development was higher through the first quarter of 2021 than it was a year earlier. Retail rental rates ended the year higher than they began in 2020. Click to see data and read more at

These Are Excellent Times For DFW Industrial

Well, 2020 was certainly a year for the ages. Before getting into what D CEO asked me to write about, the current state of the Industrial real estate market in DFW, I think it would be unmindful only to discuss business in a vacuum. The Industrial market is as strong as it has ever been, but I can’t just jump right into that. Last year was grueling for all of us, whether it was learning how to work from home, personal tribulations, Covid-19, political unrest, we have experienced a lot this year. Through the pain, heartache, and turmoil of 2020, my mind goes to a song I was listening to this weekend: There will be Better Days—2021 will have those better days. For me, 2020 started with devastating medical news I received about a loved one. A tough cancer battle would occur for months with extensive surgery and challenging odds—David vs. Goliath. Last week I found out David was cancer-free. There will be Better Days. I hope everyone who reads this blog experiences a better 2021 than 2020. Now let’s discuss the DFW Industrial market, which had a heck of a year in 2020. Click to read more at