Office Market Update Moderator: Gil Staley-The Woodlands Area Economic
Development Speakers: Robert Cromwell-Moody Rambin; Stephanie Burritt-Gensler; Ryan Barbles-Stream Realty Partners
Takeaway: The pandemic layered more pain on the office market in Houston, following as it did the slump in oil prices and the resulting employee layoffs. The flight to the suburbs from the CBD and indecision regarding co-working space has further muddled the picture and has added to landlord anxiety.
• Houston leads the country in office vacancy rate; hopefully, this year will see a bottoming out and a slow return to absorption
• There is a flight to newness, as most Houston office product was built in the ‘80s to serve that boom in oil
• The CBD and Energy Corridor have suffered the highest vacancy rates, with Uptown Houston also feeling pressure; employees working from home are enjoying freedom from long commutes; elevator and park and drive anxiety has driven the work from home phenomenon mini-boutique spaces in the suburbs as well
• There is a new term spawned by remote working: FOMO, or “fear of missing out” on what is happening within the company; collaboration is a big part of forming resilient company cultures and it is much weaker when working via Zoom
• Landlords are considering increasing ventilation even as Covid fades, but there is only so much humid air one can bring in from the outside in Houston
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Office in San Antonio “Ok” and not sliding too much; 15% vacancy citywide, with average rents $21.85 down from $22.50 this time last year; robust development market; tenants beginning to return to offices
Some landlords working with tenants on short-term renewals to build tenant goodwill, and to retain them.
The hybrid work from home and office model is here to stay, although the productivity metric for this formula is not fully known yet.
Company culture is “at the office” and it is especially important to for new hires to interact with peers and senior employees as they learn and absorb the company culture.
When pandemic recedes, we will be quick to return to old habits and dense environments, office and social; in 18-24 months we will be back to normal here
8% unemployment in S.A.
The Minneapolis office of Colliers Mortgage, part of Colliers International, recently closed a $14.6 million loan for the refinancing of Beckley Townhomes, a 100-unit affordable multifamily housing property located in Dallas. The 35-year term and amortization HUD 223(f) loan was arranged for borrower TX Timbercreek Housing, L.P. Amenities at the pet-friendly property include on-site laundry facilities, fitness center, outdoor playground, swimming pool and picnic/grilling areas.
Keynote Speaker: Mark Dotzour, PhD We should have a solid economy ongoing in Houston and Texas, with a few ‘clouds’, such as election year uncertainty, China trade issues, and the Covid19 virus scare. Energy exploration and production will be curtailed due to lack of capital from investor/lenders, which should eventually lead to an upward trend in oil prices. Our current economic expansion is into its 129th month, and going strong. 2020 will be a little slower but consumer confidence and most other economic indicators remain strongly positive. Commerce is so interconnected on the planet that trade disputes will inevitably need to be worked out. Even if 2020 is a little slower, it should create pent-up demand for 2021. Wages are up about 3.5% a year, and lots of job openings remain, despite steady increase of hiring, which has been in the range of 200-300,000 new jobs per year in recent years. Housing starts are up and household debt is down; corporate profits are leveling off-companies did not reinvest savings from last tax cut but instead bought own stock. Unemployment claims are way down, and interest rates are low and going lower. It is a ‘given’ that we will have a recession in next five years but it is not on the immediate horizon. Click to read more at www.rednews.com.
There’s been a lot of talk that the industrial market—particularly that segment serving e-commerce companies—is proving to be resilient to the economic damage wrought by COVID-19. Two Texas markets are helping lead the way as the country forges a path forward during the pandemic. New research by Transwestern suggest that there remained strong demand for large scale industrial space across the country during the first half of
the year. This demand is revving the engines of development, investment and leasing activity. Transwestern indexes the health of the national industrial market by tracking deal velocity and construction activity in 11 growth regions. Dubbed the “Elite 11,” these markets are perennial targets
for both global investors as well as the most sought-after locations for big-box distribution users, lastmile logistics, e-commerce and manufacturing
companies. Two Texas markets, Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston, make Transwestern’s Elite 11, along with Atlanta, Chicago, Lehigh Valley (PA), New Jersey, Northern California, Seattle, South Florida, Southern
California and Washington/Baltimore. These core markets are proving that this is one asset class that can’t be beaten by the pandemic. “Many sectors of the real estate market have been put on pause since March—but not the industrial real estate sector, which continues to flourish,” said Transwestern’s Matt Dolly, director of research. “Prior to the pandemic, the core markets led investment activity, and this movement has only intensified in recent months.” Click to read more at www.rednews.com.
Cavaness Insurance Agency, LLC leased 2,180SF at 14110 N. Dallas Parkway for 5 years. Steven Wilkerson with Search Commercial Healthcare & Office Real Estate Services represented the tenant and Noah Burns represented the landlord, Hartman Income REIT.