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The CRE Market - Good News and Bad News on Deal Volume

Jones Lang LaSalle has a capital markets research report out that says commercial real estate volumes surged to just under $90 billion in the first quarter of 2011.  I guess that is good news.

But the surges were mostly in Asia, with Japan being the biggest player there.  (This was before the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident, by the way.)  Europe?  Activity slowed compared to Q4 of 2010. Year end deals?  Ditto the Americas: a "modest drop-off."  JLL takes pains to say that the worldwide volume is still up from Q1 2010, but then there was nowhere to go but up, right?

One thing I didn't notice was whether the volume, reported in dollars, made any difference because of the dollar's decline against most all other currencies. That, of course, is an entirely different subject that I will let the currency experts and economists figure out.  

The report also notes:
"There are sound reasons for investors to be looking at commercial property: its perceived inflation hedge; supply shortages in many gateway markets; appealing risk-adjusted returns when compared to more volatile assets; still-attractive pricing outside some of the prime markets which corrected earliest; and even a pick-up in both debt issuance and securitization. We expect a further $290-310bn in direct commercial real estate transaction volumes in the remainder of this year."
Translation: maybe a 5-10% pickup in deal flow over the rest of 2011.  Right?  Not bad, not great.  At this point you take what you can get.

What I see?  Big deals get done.  Little deals?  They take a back seat.  Mid-market deals, the ones in my sweet spot, are taking a long time to close, as due diligence is both due and diligent and everybody (rightly) dots the Is and crosses the Ts in making a deal.

If you see something different, please do not be shy.  We call have different perceptions. We discussed that at a planning commission committee meeting last week and it was a great reminder that my reality is another person's fantasy, and vice versa.