Mar 18, 2024 - 0 Comments - Retail Properties -

Video: MSCI Researc Executive Director Jim Costello Discusses Retail Property Performance & Expectations

The Conversation: Insights from Jim Costello Regarding Navigating the Real Estate Landscape

In the ever-evolving landscape of commercial real estate, understanding the nuances of various property types and market trends is essential for investors, developers, and industry professionals alike. Recently, on America’s Commercial Real Estate Show, show host Michael sat down with Jim Costello, Executive Director at MSCI Research (Morgan Stanley Capital International Research), to delve into the current state of commercial real estate, with a particular focus on often-misunderstood retail properties.

Discussions include why retail property continues to thrive despite misconceptions and persistent “doom and gloom” headlines, data trends for retail performance, transaction volume, and cap rates, and some tips for investors and property managers in the retail real estate space. The discussion is about the landscape of retail commercial real estate spanning the entire United States. Thus, observations may be less pertinent or even not applicable to such properties in Miami or other South Florida locales.

Changing Perceptions and Market Realities

The conversation kicked off with a discussion about the prevailing perceptions in the commercial real estate sector. Costello addressed the headlines painting a bleak picture, especially concerning office spaces, which historically have been significant components of commercial real estate investment. He highlighted the drastic price declines in CBD (central business district) offices, citing a cumulative 39% decrease from July 2022 to January 2024. However, he cautioned against a blanket assumption that all sectors are experiencing similar challenges.

Costello emphasized the need to recognize the diversity within the commercial real estate market. While CBD offices face fundamental changes in tenant usage patterns, other sectors such as retail and suburban offices present different dynamics. Retail, in particular, has seen milder price declines compared to CBD offices, with a 3% decrease over the past year.

Retail Resilience and Transaction Trends

Despite concerns about the impact of e-commerce and shifting consumer behaviors, Costello highlighted the resilience of retail properties. He noted that while certain retail centers may struggle, those in the right locations with suitable management and tenant profiles continue to thrive. Additionally, he discussed transaction trends, noting a recent uptick in deal activity, particularly driven by private capital investors.

Costello acknowledged that while institutional investors have been cautious, there are indications of potential shifts in the market. As transaction volumes fluctuate and interest rates remain a key consideration, the outlook for retail real estate remains nuanced.

Cap Rate Dynamics and Future Projections

One of the key metrics discussed was capitalization rates (cap rates), which have seen a moderate increase in response to changing market conditions. Costello noted that while cap rates are on the rise, the pace of increase is moderating, indicating a potential stabilization in pricing.

Looking ahead, Costello highlighted the importance of monitoring interest rate movements and their impact on investor sentiment and decision-making. While uncertainty may lead to delays in transactions, there remains optimism regarding the resilience of retail real estate, especially in the context of in-person consumer spending and the gradual return to normalcy post-pandemic.

Key Takeaways and Closing Thoughts

In conclusion, Costello emphasized the importance of a nuanced approach to understanding commercial real estate markets. While certain segments may face challenges, others continue to present opportunities for savvy investors. As the industry navigates through economic uncertainties and evolving consumer trends, staying informed and adaptable remains paramount.

The conversation between the host and Jim Costello provided valuable insights into the current state of commercial real estate, particularly within the retail sector. As stakeholders assess opportunities and risks in the market, Costello’s expertise offers guidance for making informed decisions in an ever-changing landscape.