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Commercial Lending to Stay Tough

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I spent the day yesterday at the Commercial Broker's Association (CBA) Commercial Real Estate Form.  A great program on relevant issues in today's commercial real estate markets. The one presentation that hit hard was Market Knowledge: Strengths and Weaknesses in Different Segments of the Commercial Real Estate Market presented by Dr. Jim DeLisle, University of Washington Director, Graduate Real Estate Studies at the Runstad Professor of Real Estate. 

My take away: The Commercial Mortgage Backed Securities market, where commercial mortgages were bundled and sold, has pretty much evaporated. The only loans that are being made and will continue to be made are portfolio loans, where the lender actually keeps the loan in their portfolio. The result... very few mortgages are being written. It is much more difficult to obtain a commercial mortgage and the loan to value; the present value, is in the neighborhood of 40% - 60%.  With many commercial mortgages rolling over in the near future, new financing will be a problem. I expect there will be many good opportunities to purchase commercial properties at attractive rates.

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Employee Office Space Allocation is Shrinking

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According to Buildings Magazine reporting on a recent IFMA study, the  allocation of office space per employee is shrinking thanks to new technology, cost saving efforts and cultural changes in the way business is done to satisfy a younger workforce. The chart shows  the the average square feet per employee based upon job position.

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Executive Office Suite or Coworking Office Space?

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Is there a difference between an executive office suite and coworking office space? You bet there is. According to Frank Cottle, Chairman and Founder of Alliance Business Centers Network, " they are marketing to two different user groups and each using their own mixture of 'people, place and technology' to align themselves with their prospective client groups. A great deal is the 'packaging' as you suggest, but also the manner of service delivery is different on the emphasis of one end or the other on the 'collaboration and community' development issues"

The big difference, as Frank so well put it, is that an executive suite is focused on "facility" while the coworking space is focused on "community" and generally a focused community such as high tech, web development, accounting or businesses with a common thread. Even those executive suites that have networking meeting on a regular basis are still not really a coworking space.

See the full discussion, including 42 comments, with leading industry experts at our OfficeFinder LinkedIn Discussion Group.

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Reports: Office Rental Rates to Rise This Year

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According to two reports, one by Cushman & Wakefield and the other by Marcus & Millichap, office space rental rates will begin to rise again by the end of 2011 or early  2012. The increase in office rental rates will not be across the board, but uneven throughout the country. Markets that will see the biggest increases in office rental rates are expected to be Washington DC, San Francisco and Midtown Manhattan. The reason; improving employment and limited new construction. According to Marcus & Millichap less than 20 million square feet of new supply is scheduled to come on line throughout the US in 2011. More confirmation that the bottom of the market is here.  For tenants wanting to make sure they can take advantage of the low office rental rates, now is the time to either renew, renegotiate of relocate to get the best possible office rental rates. Contact us if you would like the assitance of a top local tenant rep. We'd be happy to help!

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Report: Office Rental Markets Improving

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The Real Deal March 31, 2011 Office rents and absorption will rise over the next two years in urban and suburban business districts, according to Cushman & Wakefield's office market forecast released today. Though office rents remain low in the U.S., the report determined that a lack of new supply coupled with rising demand will force rents upward in half of all central business districts - or urban business centers - by 2013. And while 2010 saw just 2.2 million square feet absorbed in cities, by 2012 that number should grow more than six-fold to 13.9 million square feet. New York City will lead the charge, along with Washington D.C., Boston, Seattle and Chicago, as those areas will combine to account for nearly two-thirds of that space. Suburban office vacancies will also decline between now and 2013, but at a slower rate than those of central business districts. Almost half of all suburban markets will see office rent declines between now and 2013, and five areas - including Miami - will see office rents dip below 2010 bottoms.

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