Industry insights, market outlook reports and commercial real estate
news, and trends from the Coldwell Banker Commercial brand.
Despite several challenges, including high interest rates, credit availability, and the state of the economy, multifamily properties continue to shine as the most attractive asset class in the real estate market.
Medical office space remains a strong asset class for a variety of reasons, including consistent demand, evolving technology, longer lease terms, and strong fundamentals.
Estimates of domestic migration patterns over the past year underscore the enduring impact of pandemic-driven relocations.
More than 10,000 residential units were created nationwide through conversions last year, and tens of thousands more are expected to come online in the coming years, according to Yardi Matrix.
Examining RentCafe's market insight report reveals renter online activity to identify top in-demand cities for apartments.
Deloitte has recently released holiday sales projections for the retail sector, and the 2023 holiday season is poised to strengthen it further. According to Deloitte's annual holiday retail forecast, holiday retail sales are expected to increase between 3.5% and 4.6% in 2023.
The retail industry has experienced intense highs and lows in recent years. In-person store visits experienced a substantial increase in the latter half of 2023, largely attributed to the phenomenon known as "revenge shopping." This concept captures the enthusiasm people have for spending money on shopping, driven by the sense of deprivation they experienced during the pandemic. However, this surge was brief, as it was followed by the Omicron wave in early 2022, coupled with record-high gas prices and subsequent inflation, which hindered the emerging recovery. Nevertheless, there is a robust appetite for in-person shopping among consumers today. It's worth noting that foot traffic data suggests that the performance of brick-and-mortar retail in 2023 varies significantly from one region to another. According to research analytics by Placer.ai, New York, NY; San Jose, CA; New Haven, Bridgeport; Hartford, CT; and Washington D.C. are leading the pack as thriving retail hubs. As Placer.ai highlights in their study, the New York-Newark-Jersey City core-based statistical area witnessed a 1.3% increase in store visits at the beginning of the year. One of the main factors contributing to this trend was the significant return of office workers to Manhattan. In January, over 86% of office workers returned to their workplaces, a stark contrast to the 38% in 2022. February saw nearly 32% of employees returning to work, almost double the number from the same month in the previous year. This increase in office workers also led to a surge in foot traffic in key retail areas. Store visits in May to some of New York’s prime retail corridors like Times Square & 42nd Street, North 5th Ave., and the Flatiron District saw impressive rises of 12.8%, 10.2%, and 13.8%, respectively. These increases were notably higher compared to the nationwide rise of just 1.7%.Interestingly, New Yorkers who permanently left their homes and offices during the pandemic contributed to a retail resurgence north of the city, particularly in Connecticut. Thousands of them relocated to Connecticut, resulting in significant traffic increases in New Haven, Hartford, and Bridgeport. Over the past three years, these Connecticut CBSAs have experienced a steady increase in population, with many newcomers coming from New York City neighborhoods with higher median home values. Placer.ai analyzed Zillow housing data and found a pattern of high-income homeowners moving to more affordable areas in Connecticut. This allowed them to sell their expensive properties and purchase more affordable ones in Connecticut, leaving them with high disposable incomes to spend on home improvement projects and shopping trips. In the first half of the year, Silicon Valley emerged as a shopping hotspot in California. The San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara CBSA saw shopping center traffic gains of up to 5% from February to April. In contrast, all other major California CBSAs experienced declines in traffic during the same period. The affluence of residents in Silicon Valley played a significant role in drawing crowds. Nearly 45% of trade areas in the San Jose CBSA had median household incomes exceeding $200,000 per year, while only about 25% of shopping center trade areas in California maintained this income level.Georgetown, a popular neighborhood in Washington, D.C., stood out for its affluent and youthful population. This made it a prime location for digitally native brands looking to establish their presence in physical retail. In the first half of the year, several youth-oriented brands experienced significant increases in foot traffic compared to 2022. Anthropologie recorded a 45% increase, while Everlane and Warby Parker saw rises of more than 25%.Thriving retail hubs often serve as indicators of economic vitality and consumer demand, providing valuable insights into market trends and potential investment hotspots. Moreover, understanding the factors driving success in these hubs, such as population growth, income levels, or shifts in consumer behavior, can help investors position themselves strategically. Furthermore, staying connected to thriving retail hubs enables investors to diversify their portfolios and mitigate risks associated with economic downturns or localized challenges.
Given the rapid increase in office vacancies and the continued popularity of remote or hybrid work models, post-pandemic, commercial real estate investors are now turning their attention to coworking spaces as the demand for them rises. Coworking and shared spaces have become crucial for various professional groups, including early-stage small businesses, freelancers, and college students. The appeal of coworking is expanding, from entrepreneurs managing solo operations to large corporations investing in shared workspaces, and even college students are emerging as new users in coworking spaces near their campuses.
Many recall convenience stores as small retail establishments attached to a gas station, where one might grab a drink or a pack of gum. However, as indicated in Placer.ai's white paper titled "C-Store Trends & the Brands Leading the Way," contemporary convenience stores, or "C-stores," have undergone a substantial transformation. While some convenience stores still derive their revenue from gas and automotive services, others have repositioned themselves as destinations where patrons can enjoy specialty coffee, grab a quick dinner, or conveniently acquire a selection of grocery items on their way home from work, as highlighted in the white paper. Or in the case of some like Buc-ee's, convenience has been elevated into a whole new super-sized extravaganza attraction.The Rise of the C-StoreIn recent years, C-stores have demonstrated remarkable success in the retail sector, outpacing several related categories, including traditional grocery stores. Furthermore, despite the challenge of higher gas prices, the white paper highlights a notable increase in foot traffic at convenience stores. This surge in visitation can be attributed to two primary factors: inflation and improved food offerings. With inflation increasing prices, individuals increasingly seek affordable indulgences and cost-effective alternatives. This shift in consumer behavior has led many people to favor convenience stores over extensive trips to larger grocery stores. Additionally, the enhanced food offerings in these establishments, including options like fresh coffee, baked goods, and fast food, have contributed significantly to their growing popularity.C-Store Brands Leading the WayThe C-store industry exhibits significant regional variations. Despite being a national brand, 7-Eleven holds a dominant presence on the West Coast. Maverick – Adventure's First Stop enjoys renown in Wyoming and Utah, while Cumberland Farms stands as the primary C-store choice in New England. In Texas, Buc-ee's holds exceptional popularity, and for residents of Florida, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and New Jersey, Wawa is the preferred and go-to convenience store.Staying up to speed with C-store trends is of paramount importance for investors in today's dynamic market landscape. The evolving nature of C-stores, as highlighted by the transformation from simple gas station add-ons to multifaceted retail establishments, presents compelling reasons for investors to keep a keen eye on this sector. The remarkable growth and adaptability of C-stores underscore their potential as rewarding investment opportunities. As these stores diversify their offerings, investors have the chance to tap into a market that not only caters to traditional automotive needs but also serves as a destination for food, beverages, and everyday essentials. Recognizing the trends in convenience store evolution can help investors identify the brands and chains that are thriving in this competitive environment.
Retailers in the United States are defying historic lows in retail space availability by planning to launch 1,000 new stores this year, underscoring the sector's resilience amid commercial real estate challenges. Despite factors like inflation, elevated interest rates, and the closure of businesses such as Bed Bath & Beyond and Christmas Tree Shops, landlords are reporting unwavering demand for retail spaces, highlighted by The Wall Street Journal. This resilience can be attributed to the reduced retail construction since the 2008-09 financial crisis, allowing the oversaturated sector to absorb its existing real estate. Moreover, retailers are using online sales data and analytics to pinpoint ideal locations for successful stores. Contrary to predictions of online retail dominance, digital-native companies are now establishing physical storefronts after reaching their online customer acquisition limits. Shoppers are returning to stores and restaurants as pandemic restrictions ease, alleviating earlier concerns. Additionally, Commerce Department data from earlier this summer reveals that retail sales increased by a seasonally adjusted 0.7% in July compared to the prior month. American spending has risen for four consecutive months and seems to be outpacing inflation.This retail revival stands in stark contrast to the office market, which is grappling with a 30-year high in office vacancy rates of 18.2%, primarily due to the rise of hybrid work schedules. A whitepaper by Placer.ai highlights the success of Walmart, Target, and Costco amid economic challenges such as inflation and high gas prices. Despite the evolving retail landscape, these retailers serve as prime examples of how challenges can transform into opportunities. Placer.ai's Q2 2023 data suggests that shifting consumer trends are favoring superstores.In fact, both Costco and Target outperformed the broader retail sector in year-over-year (YoY) performance, with visit growth rates of 1.2% and 3.1% in the first half of 2023, compared to the overall retail sector's 0.3% decline. Conversely, Walmart seemed to be more affected by inflation, possibly due to its visitors having a lower median household income compared to Costco and Target shoppers, experiencing a 0.9% decrease in foot traffic compared to H1 2022. However, recent weekly visit data indicates a potential Walmart rebound. Between June 19th and July 24th, the chain recorded year-over-year weekly visit growth, suggesting a positive trajectory and hinting at year-over-year growth in the second half of the year.For commercial real estate investors, staying attuned to retail trends is of paramount importance. The ability to anticipate and respond to these trends can make the difference between a successful investment and a poor decision. Understanding which retailers are thriving and why, as well as grasping the nuances of changing consumer behavior, can inform strategic decisions regarding property acquisitions, leases, and developments. Incorporating these insights into investment strategies can help commercial real estate investors identify prime locations, optimize property portfolios, and ultimately maximize returns on their investments.