Top 10 Takeaways from the 2017 Allen Matkins View From the Top

Allen Matkins

Allen Matkins

Allen Matkins hosted its 10th annual View From the Top, packed with insider industry knowledge of the California and national real estate market. Juxtaposed with the Allen Matkins/UCLA Anderson Forecast California Commercial Real Estate Survey, the View is the marquis event for the California real estate industry.

According to top economists and market experts, the Top 10 Takeaways are:

  1. The Fundamentals Are Amazing. Michael Van Konynenburg, President of Eastdil Secured, LLC, posits we could be in a “double header” recovery. Eight years in, it is one the longest in history. Consumer confidence is at a 16-year high, unemployment is at a 15-year low, and wages are growing. Core inflation is under control, with only a 25% change of a Federal Reserve rate hike in the remainder of the year. The EU is stable despite Brexit, and US markets are doing quite well despite pockets of domestic and international political instability. Globally, 37 of the world’s 45 largest economies are growing.
  2. Amazon and E-Commerce is Changing Real Estate. Industrial logistics are a major focus for investors, making industrial a favored asset class. Retailers want distribution centers close to urban markets to fine-tune just-in-time delivery. Retailers and real estate investors have a laser focus on “the last mile.” Phoenix, Salt Lake, and Portland may replace Northern and Southern California and Seattle as the primary markets for distribution centers.
  3. Retail in General Will Be Hot. The retail sector is in flux, and that creates enormous opportunities as malls revamp their product offerings, such as grocery stores replacing anchor tenants.
  4. Driverless Cars and Trucks Are Game Changers. Anyone in the real estate market needs to keep up-to-date on disruptions in the transit and transportation markets.
  5. Employees-Per-Square-Foot Is Key Metric. As employers, even law firms, seek to put more employees in less space, developers must reconsider the number of elevators and bathrooms, the strength of the building grid and internal secure Wi-Fi, etc. This is, in part, what makes “over-parked” properties, such as call centers, extremely valuable, especially as tenants want larger and larger floor plates.
  6. Universities Are Key to Tech-Related Development. Tech and especially life sciences need proximity to top universities such as Stanford, Berkeley, UCLA and USC to thrive, giving the West Coast a relatively highly concentrated advantage. On the West Coast, tech and entertainment are the primary economic drivers.
  7. “Experiential Real Estate.” Don’t call them mixed-use “office buildings,” but experiential real estate, given the blur between work and play and that knowledge workers and creatives who can do 90% of their jobs on iPhones need to be lured with engaging space that combines housing, work space, retail and restaurant (including microbreweries and food halls) and soaring open-air space to congregate. One new offering in San Francisco features three acres of rooftop gardens and decks.
  8. Spec to Fully Leased in 0 to 60. Buildings with top amenities in San Francisco and Seattle are moving from spec to 99% leased at opening.
  9. Transit and Housing Still Hold the Keys. With hot markets like San Francisco and others running out of in-fill space, transit holds the key to where commercial development can flourish. Sites along mass transit are gold. “Property along BART is the equivalent of beach-front property.” Lack of mass transit is growth’s worst enemy.
  10. Transit Concerns Give Downtown LA a Leg Up. As West LA continues to be supply-constrained, the market sees downtown as the hub poised for growth. Inglewood continues to be one of the most transformative projects in Southern California. 




DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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