News Ticker

Hope On The Horizon For Industrial And Office Markets

By Peter Madrid for Arizona Commercial Real Estate

Photo Credit: AZRE

After 4 to 5 years of being bludgeoned, the Metro Phoenix industrial and office markets appear to be on the mend.

“It has been our belief that in order for the industrial and office segments to return to health, the Metro Phoenix housing market would first need to be firmly entrenched in recovery — and it is,” says Chris Toci, executive director, Cushman & Wakefield of Arizona.

[AZRE notes that the 2012 turn in the housing market—Phoenix median home prices rising, yet housing costs remain affordable—resulted in job growth by major employers. Cited are expansions and market entries by Amazon.com, PayPal, Safelite Auto Glass, PowerOne and American President Lines.]

Both the Metro Phoenix industrial and office markets are the beneficiaries of employment growth from new and expanding employers in the market. In 2005, Phoenix was No. 1 in the nation in terms of job growth with 103,800 new jobs added. Three years later, in 2008 and 2009, Phoenix lost nearly 230,000 jobs.

During that time, the industrial market, with a current base inventory of 263 MSF, suffered negative absorption of 2.3 MSF and 2.8 MSF, respectively. Similarly, the office market, with a current base inventory of 78 MSF, suffered negative absorption of 1.1 MSF each year in 2008 and 2009. With 2010 being a transition year, 2011 witnessed 6.1 MSF and 1.1 MSF of positive industrial and office absorption, respectively. 1Q 2012 trends are continuing with nearly 600,000 SF of industrial and 210,000 SF of office absorption, respectively.

“Phoenix is leading the national recovery in housing and commercial development,” says Kurt Rosene, senior vice president for The Alter Group. “The current activity from potential corporate relocations looking at Arizona are at an all-time high. Phoenix is on every site selection list, based upon affordable housing, strong educated employment base, the availability of zoned land, a relatively easy development process and a proactive state government that keeps signing additional economic incentives into law.

“We believe that all of these factors will combine to cause positive job growth in Arizona, maintaining the recovery that has already taken place in the industrial distribution sector,” Rosene adds.

According to Toci, rental rates for the industrial sector are beginning to firm with strong rental increases projected within the next 12 months across many of the submarkets. Office rents in certain submarkets are beginning to firm and will continue to do so in those submarkets with rapidly declining vacancy rates. More peripheral office submarkets will take more time to chew through excess supply levels generated in the last development cycle.

“After nearly five years of ‘chill’ in Phoenix, institutional investors are beginning to lift their restrictions for acquisitions,” Toci says. “As trite as it sounds, blue sky and sunshine will once again prevail and will continue to attract residents from the frozen tundra of the Rust Belt.

Read more at AZRE