Friday, July 24, 2009

The Office Market is Heating Up

The office market is getting hot, hot, hot!

Since I work in many areas of commercial real estate, including office, industrial, retail and restaurant properties, I see firsthand the market waves in sales and leasing activity. Some weeks, all calls are for warehouse spaces; others retail. By far, the least amount of responses to our marketing since the beginning of the year has been for our office listings.

Until this past week. My phone has been ringing (as usual!) and most those inquiries have been about office space. On Wednesday I received two calls about Colonels Ridge from two different business owners who had toured the office park about six months ago. Each had put the acquiring-new-office decision on hold and are now ready to reevaluate making those moves. These two business owners were looking to lease space. I also showed office property to two other prospects looking to purchase. That's four office tours in two days!

Metro-Washington DC is largely driven by the government; since their fiscal year ends September 30, I have been told that money is becoming available to companies who derive their business from that sector.

John Stewart, an economist and Managing Director of Vantage Economics, a consulting firm, believes economically we have entered into a period of stabilization. Although unemployment will continue to be high for a while, the recession may be over. The Wall Street Journal reported this week that based on its latest quarterly survey of housing data, home sales were up compared to last year in Washington DC and Northern Virginia. Another report I read indicated a 3.7% price increase from April to May in the Washington DC metropolitan area, suggesting a recovery in the housing market here.

From my perspective, consumer confidence is back, reflected in business owners feeling positive about making long-term monetary decisions (i.e., signing leases, purchasing properties). I hope this trend continues.

Monday, July 6, 2009

REALTOR® Magazine-Daily News-Best Cities for Finding Opportunity

REALTOR® Magazine just posted the following question:
Where are the best cities to live in the US if you want to work hard and get ahead?

I was happy to see that metro-Washington DC made the list. The study, conducted by Forbes magazine, chose the top ten cities based on the number of Forbes' 400 best big companies and 200 best small companies headquartered in each. The study lists locations with high rates of small business successes, identifying what it considered places with the most opportunity.

I work with a lot of small business owners and have noticed the past month an increase in activity, i.e., number of listings I have leased or sold.

I had a 1,500 SF office listed for about half a year in Cascades Office Center, which leased two weeks ago.
And the charming 1,000 SF retail storefront on Battle Street in Old Town Manassas leased last week to the soon-to-opened Oh So Sweet Treats Bakery.

The retail tanning salon space I had listed for lease in Manassas Park Plaza leased in a week!

To me, this indicates consumer confidence is returning and underscores what I believe: Northern Virginia is a great place to live and work.

Best Cities to live to work hard and get ahead:
1. Houston
2. Dallas
3. Minneapolis
4. Pittsburgh
5. Boston
6. Washington, D.C.
7. Austin
8. St. Louis
9. Kansas City, Mo.
10. New York

Source: Forbes, Lauren Sherman (06/19/2009)
Article link:
REALTOR® Magazine-Daily News-Best Cities for Finding Opportunity