It’s never been a more interesting time to watch politics, with new and unprecedented developments seemingly announced everyday. Regardless of which side of the aisle you prefer, there is a general consensus among many in commercial real estate that the current administration, no matter how chaotic on the surface, could be good for our business.
A report by U.S. Commercial Property Monitor in the fourth quarter of 2016 asked respondents what impact they felt the incoming Trump administration would have on commercial real estate. A clear majority (70%) felt the impact would be positive, 7% responded negatively, and 24% felt the new administration would have little impact.
More recently, a Wells Fargo industrial outlook panel released in March had a positive reaction to President Trump as it relates to office and industrial REITs, with the authors writing: “Post-election commentary on the industrial real estate market was broadly positive, as our panel has seen strong leasing velocity as tenants believe a pro-business environment will be beneficial.”
Reuters recently reported that executives of Vornado Realty Trust believe the Trump administration bodes well for commercial real estate in New York City. The city is the largest magnet for foreign investment in U.S. commercial real estate and regarded as the most solid long-term holding in the sector. The New York office market posted a healthy 2016 with leasing activity exceeding 35 million square feet, on par with the 10-year average, according to Vornado.
As Vornado founder and chief executive Steven Roth said, the strength of “animal spirits” at play in the market are what will drive New York commercial real estate. But Roth sees encouraging signs with Trump in charge. What happens in the New York real estate market is generally good for Charlotte’s institutions, in part because the Big Apple is home for many of the Carolina’s biggest CRE investors.
Locally, commercial real estate markets here in the Carolinas continue to be strong. Everyone’s watching interest rates, where there seems to be some elasticity to the recent rate increase. And with the jobs numbers improving, that bodes well for our industrial base. Presidential talk of infrastructure investment would also be a positive for the Carolinas. Tax reform could also boost the markets, although such change may prove to be challenging and it is unclear what such an effort will look like if accomplished.
No matter which way your political leanings lie, however, there is one thing that most can agree on: it’s an interesting time to be in the commercial real estate market.