US Commercial Property
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Reopening less of a positive for Boston apartments

Greater availability, lower prices and proximity to NYC have supported demand for Boston apartments during the pandemic. That implies demand may edge back as the country reopens, and some workers return to NYC. Rental growth is therefore likely to underperform compared to other cities over the next year or so. However, beyond that, growth in life sciences will continue to create well paid jobs and keep interest in living near the city high.
Matthew Pointon Senior Property Economist
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US Commercial Property Update

Downtown offices not losing out everywhere

National office data suggest that suburban office markets have significantly outperformed downtown offices since the onset of the pandemic. But metro-level data point to a more nuanced picture in which metros reliant on commuting have seen downtown areas hit hardest, but those with a decent share of reverse commuters have seen a more balanced picture. The next 12 months will help to determine whether this is a temporary or longer-term factor.

18 October 2021

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Outstanding real estate debt increased for the fourth consecutive month in September, thanks to net lending turning a corner in the residential sector and accelerating in the commercial sector.

15 October 2021

US Commercial Property Update

Four likely winners in retail

The retail sector appears to be turning a corner, and we think that convenience-oriented Neighbourhood and Community (N&C) centres, out-of-town retail, “destination”-type malls and retail located in “desirable” southern metros are likely to be the sector’s winners over the next few years.

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US Housing Market Chart Book

Home demand drops as prices surge

Despite mortgage rates seeing little movement in recent months, mortgage applications for home purchase have dropped to their lowest level since April last year. That implies home sales have further to fall. Booming house prices, which reached a record high 15% y/y in April, and a shortage of inventory are constraining sales. While low mortgage rates mean affordability is still historically favourable, lenders are not easing lending standards and that will be weighing on purchasing power. By contrast, rental demand is recovering as cities have reopened. The recovery in the labour market will cut arrears, and strong earnings will help boost rental growth. Total apartment returns will average a healthy 6% p.a from 2021-25.

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Major Apartment Markets Outlook (Q2 2021)

With cities reopening apartment demand will see a substantial rise this year, boosted by the arrival of households who delayed a move last year. Vacancy rates will fall back in all six major cities covered in this Outlook with those hit hardest during the pandemic, NYC and D.C., enjoying the most vigorous recovery in demand as tenants return. Strong prospects for NOI growth mean yields will either edge back or hold steady this year, driving substantial capital growth in all the cities. Beyond that, a gradual rise in yields and shift to larger apartments will weigh on returns. But even San Francisco, which will suffer from its high concentration of tech workers, should see total average returns of around 5.0% p.a. from 2021-25. At the other end of the spectrum, D.C. will outperform with average total returns of 8.5% p.a.

29 June 2021

US Housing Market Update

Valuations still reasonable despite house price boom

The housing market hit a milestone in April, with real house prices rising above the previous peak recorded during the boom of the mid-2000s. But that doesn’t mean valuations are at dangerous levels. House prices look far more reasonable when gains in incomes and falls in mortgage interest rates are taken into account. With house price growth now set to slow, the prospect of another bubble forming is therefore low.

22 June 2021
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