Whole Foods, Amazon: What’s Ahead for Grocery Delivery

Whole Foods, Amazon: What’s Ahead for Grocery Delivery

Sept. 2017

Food Oases: Amazon’s move into grocery delivery and the impact on consumers, industrial real estate

Fresh produce and other high quality items may be available for grocery delivery for many of the 23.5 million Americans living in food desserts—but they’re not necessarily coming as grocery stores.  A recent Bisnow article highlighted how online grocery delivery services are helping bring fresh and healthy foods to those living without access to major supermarkets.

Pexels Food image

Grocery delivery is a hot items for Amazon, given its purchase of Whole Foods. Image courtesy of Pexel.

Barriers to entry

While online food orders only account for about 2-4 percent of grocery shopping, there’s high potential for grocer  growth without building or renting a lot of additional real estate.  But there are also challenges:

  • Cost of renting or owning cooler or freezer space is high- $150-$170/sf
  • Food deserts are often in low-income areas where people don’t spend money on high-quality foods
  • Distribution centers must be within an hour of customers, a potential challenge on the industrial real estate side

New stores and distribution centers offering online ordering

Some companies are skirting these issues by using their existing stores as extensions of cold storage facilities. Amazon’s recent acquisition of Whole Foods, as well as its purchase or rental of several new cold storage facilities in major cities like Chicago, Dallas and New York, have allowed the company to expand its Amazon Fresh network to a greater base.

More choices doesn’t mean people will choose healthily

Because many food deserts are in low-income areas, online grocery retailers may be entitled to funding similar to tax incentives for affordable housing when they educate the public on a healthy diet. That may be an incentive for the retailers, but it won’t necessarily entice customers to make the right choices when they buy foods. In one case in the Bronx, the city of New York paid 40% of the construction costs for a supermarket to be built in a food desert, but customers still chose less expensive processed food options.

Stay tuned for more on how this grocery delivery trend impacts consumers — as well as industrial real estate professionals.

 

Greatest Threat to Retail? E-commerce and Shifting Consumers Habits

Greatest Threat to Retail? E-commerce and Shifting Consumers Habits

June 2017

rossevelt-field-mall

While e-commerce is often blamed for struggles in the retail sector, there are several other factors at play, according to Real Capital Markets’ recently released 2017 Retail Sentiment Report, which gauged opinions from investors across the U.S. The study examines changing consumer habits and how some survey respondents are trying to reinvent their approach to retail.

Among the study findings are:

  • Shifting consumer buying habits are the greatest threat to the industry. From e-commerce to in-store pickup and attitudes toward power shopping centers, shifting consumer habits have the eye of retailers as they try to navigate this current retail climate. Disruption has hit the retail industry and investors are aware of its impact and looking for ways to mitigate risks.
  • Most investors feel reinvention is the key to solving the industry’s greatest issues. In light of large tenant shake-ups and e-commerce pressures, investors are looking long-term at where retail is heading and what investments make sense.
  • Anchored shopping centers are the preferred property type for investors by a margin of 3:1. In this category, centers anchored by grocery tenants are preferred, as this sector is considered secure against e-commerce.
  • More than 57 percent of investors surveyed are net buyers of retail properties, an indication investors looking for opportunities and the ability to “balance” portfolios previously buoyed by other asset types.
Commercial Real Estate Trends for 2017

Commercial Real Estate Trends for 2017

The commercial real estate industry has been on a strong cycle for several years. The big question is: How long will it continue? The latest Emerging Trends Report by PWC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) and the Urban Land Institute, has the long view on the market. Here’s the latest.

The Strong Investment Sectors for 2017?

pjp_interior-industrial-center

Supply chain and e-commerce growth continues to drive Industrial real estate leasing and investment.

Industrial — continues to top the charts, due to the growth in e-commerce and the general supply chain.  Well located, institutional quality distribution space has been in short supply for several years across the country. While new construction has been strong, it will take time to lease and sell the buildings and, thus, fill all the demand. Bottom line: investors like the stability and long-term growth of this sector and will continue to seek strong assets in primary, secondary and even outlying markets.

Senior Housing/Retirement Homes — these will continue to be in favor, due to the aging population and need for community residences and related services.

 

oakland-urban-retail-centerUrban Mixed-Use Developments — these vibrant, urban developments that combines residential, retail, offices and more continue to draw Millennials and Baby Boomers alike — and should guide development going into 2017 and beyond.

The Emerging Trends report also predicts:

nyc skyline

Global commercial real estate should be stable in 2017

More stability in market cycles — Look for less volatility, as lessons learned from the global financial meltdown will guide decisions moving forward. While construction still lags during this post-recession era, it should continue at a tempered pace.

Multi-Use– or “Optionality” is in — the trend toward developers and investors seeking flexible, multi-use projects. In this commercial real estate market, buildings that can be adjusted to satisfy multiple tenants and changing neighborhoods are ideal. It lets owners maximize rents and seek the highest and best use.Bisnow multifamily yardi

Construction costs to rise due to labor issues — Workers who left during the recession have been slow to return, slowing production and increasing costs. With vacancy rates at record lows in many markets, construction has been a big factor in filling long-term demand. Without an adequate number of workers, costs will rise.

Cap rates could go lower in 2017 — As investors continue to chase deals and limited supply and tempered construction present continued challenges.

 

 

Retail Market Review: What’s Ahead for Holidays?

Retail Market Review: What’s Ahead for Holidays?

December 2016

We’ve made it past Cyber Monday, which became Cyber Week this year. As we head into the main holiday shopping season, all eyes turn to retail sales. Who will show strength this holiday season? Target? Nordstrom? Macy’s? Will shoppers turn out in force or wander around the malls without showing much purchasing power?

Here’s a recap:

rossevelt-field-mallShopping malls in trouble? — According to Fortune, the decline of department stores and other factors are a black cloud hanging over mall owners and a big factor in retail sales. Click here for more details.

Sales steady — Sales of electronics, apparel and other holiday favorites are expected to rise 4.1 percent this year, compared with 2.5 percent last year and 4.8 percent in 2014. Check out Kiplinger’s retail update for more.

Stretching the season — National Real Estate Investor talks about retail promotions and efforts to stretch the holiday shopping season from early November into January. To note — U.S. total store sales fell by about 4 percent during the Black Friday weekend compared with 2015. But — ICSC research found that more than 75 percent of shoppers spent as much –if not more — in 2016 versus 2015.

nyc-fifth-ave-hmkmcg

Consumer spending risesCommercial Property Executive details how consumer spending rose during Q3 to 3.2 percent– the highest level in two years. This is mainly due to business spend and an increase in imports, but overall…good news!

 

Self-Storage Market Continues to Offer Investment Opportunities

Self-Storage Market Continues to Offer Investment Opportunities

Self-storage

An iStorage facility in California.

Sept. 2016

With the self-storage industry on a roll of late, one Colorado-based REIT is betting that storage will continue to be a good investment.

Commercial Property Executive has a story detailing National Storage Affiliates Trust’s forming of a joint venture with a major state pension fund to purchase a 66-property iStorage portfolio for approximately $630 million. The deal includes between 4 and 5 million square feet of rentable self-storage space in more than 36,000 storage units across 12 states.

NSA also acquired the iStorage property management company and brand in a separate deal.

The purchase strengthens NSA’s hold in many of its existing markets — most notably California and Florida, where iStorage had a major presence — and introduces it to new markets in New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

Marcus & Millichap Report

NSA isn’t alone in seeking out self-storage property. Marcus & Millichap has released a research report that projects good things for the self-storage market in the second half of 2016. Demand for storage, combined with a lack of supply, is driving a rise in occupancy and rents. That’s true for both climate-controlled facilities and properties without climate controls.

Investors are likely drawn to self storage because of its status as a secure option for long-term profits. With that in mind, look for similar acquisitions of storage properties the rest of the year.

Study Shows Multifamily Buyers Prefer to Rent

Multifamily predictions

Atlanta has a strong multifamily market

August 2016

Many multifamily renters in larger metropolitan areas have the credit score and income to buy a house, but many of them choose not to, according to a recent MultiFamilyBiz.com report. According to stats from Zillow, almost 14 percent of renters could buy a home in their target market, but instead, they’re increasing the competition for renters.

That’s good for landlords and property managers, who are now seeing a wealth of highly qualified renters occupying their properties. But condo developers may want to rethink how they’re positioning their newly built units in case this trend continues.

When it comes to high-income, good credit renters and homebuyers, not all cities and regions are created equal.  Here’s how city-dwellers vary by region:

  • San Jose, San Francisco, and San Diego have the highest proportion of renters, especially near tech hubs where the young wealthy are competing for apartments.
  • Los Angeles, New York and Seattle also have large segments of renters who are actually qualified to buy.
  • Detroit and Cleveland, which were hit hard during the recession, have lower shares of renters with good credit and high income.
Millennials, Baby Boomers Still Driving CRE

Millennials, Baby Boomers Still Driving CRE

July 2016

The retail, healthcare, multifamily and hospitality sectors are all seeing gains from America’s two biggest generations — the Baby Boomers and the Millennials, as each reaches a different life stage.  According to research from Marcus & Millichap, these two groups comprise 150 million Americans whose spending makes up 30 percent of the U.S. GDP.  That’s a lot of buying power and a boost for the commercial real estate industry. Here’s a look at some key findings:

Bisnow multifamily yardi

Multifamily Gains — Millennials, the renting generation, have fueled the completion of 215,000 new apartment units over the past 12 months. With the absorption of 237,000 units, vacancy has fallen to 4.2 percent, leaving developers room to build even more.

Restaurants Rules — Because they’re not spending on houses and goods, many millennials are spending more on experiences. The bar and restaurant industry has seen a 6.5 percent gain in sales over the last year.

Hotel occupancy is up — to 60.7 percent in the first quarter of 2016, making it the second highest quarter on record, according to Marcus & Millichap.

Retail is stronger — SoBeverly Hills Marriottme millennial are starting to settle down and buy homes or move out from roommate situations, leading to a large increase in spending in several retail sectors. Both home furnishing and home improvement retail stores have seen a 3.6 percent increase over the past year.

Retail

Image via NREI Online

Don’t forget the Boomers — Medication sales, plus an expanded pool of Boomers with insurance pushed sales at drug stores up 8.3 percent from a year ago.

By 2020, 57 million people — 16 percent of the population — will be over 65. Don’t count this age group out, as the spending is likely to continue to drive these key sectors.

Hotel Owners Get Creative In Search Of Revenue Growth

Hotel Owners Get Creative In Search Of Revenue Growth

Hotel

The Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. (Photo via NREI)

June 2016

The performance of the hotel industry has been shaky in 2016, forcing owners and investors to get creative when it comes to finding ways to squeeze every last dollar out of their properties.

With revenue per room growth stalled, the focus has shifted to total revenue growth. NREI recently outlined a few of the ways major hotel brands are maximizing their profits:

Rightsizing: NREI cites the example of Marriott, which purchased — and then “rightsized” — the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. Marriott launched a $6 million renovation, focusing on increasing the available meeting space and making the hotel’s restaurant and bar more appealing. By identifying a few key opportunities with a chance for good return on investment, Marriott was able to make the hotel more profitable.

Beverly Hills Marriott

The entrance to the renovated Marriott Beverly Hills Hotel. (Photo via Marriott)

Repositioning: Savvy investors are targeting hotels that hit a lot of things on their checklist but need to be reinvigorated. The Marriott Beverly Hills Hotel was one such case, receiving a complete “gutting and reskinning” after it was purchased for $21 million. The reason? Marriott saw an opportunity given that the next closest hotel was more than 6 miles away. NREI also described the example of an island hotel that moved away from single and double occupancy rooms in favor of group rooms, resulting in year-to-year revenue growth of 19 percent.

Creating more hotel space: Some hotels that are overloaded with amenities — think pools, restaurants and gyms — are turning those areas into boutique villas or residence lots. These do more to grow revenue.

Adding residences: Speaking of residence lots, some hotels are considering the positive effects of adding branded residences. These residences increase spending by more permanent guests. However, there is risk involved. Hotels will feel the burn of revenue losses if the residences do not sell.

Supply concerns are weighing on the hotel industry. Until revenue per room rates start to rise again, hotel owners and investors will need to continue finding creative ways to bring in money.

Cautious Optimism on Investment; Non-Gateway Markets Rule

Cautious Optimism on Investment; Non-Gateway Markets Rule

May 2016

Investment

Austin, Texas

How long will this strong CRE investment cycle last? That’s what’s on the minds of many CRE executives surveyed recently by DLA Piper. Among the key findings from the survey are:

  • Cautious optimism: We all know that CRE is cyclical. It’s been a good seven years of growth. About 62 percent of the executives surveyed are bullish about investment during the next year — down from 89 percent in the 2014 survey.
  • Non-gateway markets are king: As pricing in core markets continue to push out investors, cities such as Austin, Seattle, Denver and Raleigh are becoming the hot spots. This is particularly true among domestic investors, according to the report.
  • Record pricing, but reduced transaction volume: There was just $25.1 B in commercial property sales in February of 2016, down almost 50 percent from the previous year.
  • Foreign investment will continue: The U.S. is considered a safe haven and will continue to draw foreign investors into non-gateway markets and core markets (which are considered an even safer bet).
    Seattle

    Seattle, Washington

Among the top non-gateway cities to watch, according to the survey respondents, are:

  • Austin
  • Seattle
  • Miami
  • Denver
  • Nashville

See the law firm’s “State of the Market” survey for more.

Multifamily growth expected to be slow, steady in Q2

Multifamily growth expected to be slow, steady in Q2

Multifamily growth

Multifamily growth in Houston was downgraded in a recent report by Yardi.

April 2016

After adjusting their estimates for the second quarter of 2016, commercial real estate experts are anticipating a period of slow, but steady, multifamily growth over the next three months.

Rents on multifamily properties reached an all-time high of $1,181 last month, rising 0.5 percent over February, according to the Yardi Matrix Monthly report. But the report also predicts that rent appreciation will taper off soon. National rents are already showing the signs, decreasing by 20 basis points from February 2015.

Of the 30 major metropolitan markets for which Yardi creates forecasts, 13 were downgraded from the end of first quarter, 11 were increased and six remain the same. The top markets and their expected rent growth included:

  • Portland (14.1 percent)
  • San Francisco (11 percent)
  • Sacramento (10.6 percent)
  • Denver (10.3 percent)

Mid-Atlantic markets Richmond, Va.; Washington, D.C.; and Baltimore were the only markets to fall below their long-term average for growth. This is likely due to their weakness in the high-end lifestyle rent sector.

See this Commercial Property Executive story for more.

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