Optimism and hope were the watchwords during a recent meeting of the Institute of Real Estate Management’s local chapter. Those involved in commercial real estate attended the meeting to receive an update on the current state of the commercial real estate, particularly what went on in 2009 in the world of South Coast real estate, and what to expect in 2010.
Speaking at the breakfast meeting this past Wednesday, March 3, were representatives from the Radius Groups Commercial Real Estate brokerage firm, including principal and Agent Steve Golis, agent Dan McGregor, and general manager and senior agent Brian Johnson.
“The 2009 leasing market was a year that is probably best left forgotten now that it’s over,” said Johnson. While most of 2009 is, as Johnson asserts, a time to be consigned to the dustbin, it turns out that the end of the year was not as bad as was expected. Despite the large role unemployment played in delaying the economy’s recovery, the fourth quarter showed positive signs of improvement in the South Coast’s business sector.
“We did see good indicators in the last part of year,” said Johnson. “More deals were being put together; landlords were making more concessions and being more reasonable and flexible on deals for getting tenants into buildings.” Quite specifically, he said, Bevmo’s and Reid’s Appliances’ move to downtown Santa Barbara show, firsthand, the beginnings of change in the retail market. In addition, the return of smaller businesses to the market in 2009 was a good sign. Radius Groups predicted that there will be more activity this year in leasing, though the activity will include more ups and downs in the vacancy levels. Despite the start and stops, they claim that there will be more positive indicators towards the end of this year, with a forecast of growth in 2011.
While the market is by no means at its best, the general tone of the meeting was upbeat, as Johnson asserted:. “All the professionals at the meeting are seeing the same sort of signs that we are,” he said. “They are tired of sitting on the sidelines and are reacting with optimism.”
The Institute for Real Estate Management is a membership organization providing education and other resources for professionals in multifamily and other commercial real estate. It teamed up with Radius Group to provide a sustained overview and to forecast the market, because Radius Group is the dominant full-service commercial real estate brokerage firm on California’s Central Coast, to give a sustained overview of the industry and to forecast the market.