When it comes to commercial real estate investment, Los Angeles continues to stay on top despite the area’s high land and building prices. For the fourth year in a row, commercial real estate investors chose the city as the top target among metros in the Americas in CBRE’s 2019 Americas Investor Intentions Survey. The survey focuses on the commercial real estate landscape from Mexico City to Toronto.
The annual survey, released earlier this month, ranked the Los Angeles/Southern California area No. 1 for property purchases. The Dallas-Fort Worth area, Washington, D.C., San Francisco/Northern California and Seattle round out the top five. CBRE Managing Director Natalie Dahl said there are a lot of factors as to why Los Angeles remains a top target for investors. “There is a unique economic dynamic happening in the region,” Dahl said. Dahl said multifamily investments are booming in the Los Angeles region because there is a severe housing shortage. Tech businesses that once flocked to the Bay Area are being priced out and settling in Los Angeles or other parts of Southern California, Dahl said. Additionally, other tech businesses that have offices in the Bay Area are expanding their presence and leasing up office space in Los Angeles. Those dynamics will be discussed at Bisnow’s Greater Los Angeles Capital Markets and Real Estate Finance event April 3. San Diego boasts the third-largest area for biotech companies, Dahl said. The Los Angeles area’s two major shipping ports — Long Beach and Los Angeles — are also attractive for investors, and the Inland Empire has become a hotbed for industrial real estate, she said. “For all of those reasons, investors are seeing LA and broader Southern California as a great geographic location to include in their portfolio and even within that base a lot of diversification,” Dahl said. The CBRE survey mirrors other studies that name Los Angeles as a major growth market. If or when the economy slows in the next couple of years as many expect, Los Angeles is somewhere investors should put their money, according to Bloomberg. JP Morgan Asset Management co-portfolio manager Ann Cole told Bloomberg high-growth cities such as Los Angeles and Boston with a diverse business base are in demand. “These are the kind of markets where you see multiple drivers, multiple industries, places where employees want to live,” Cole said to Bloomberg. “All of those combine to be markets were we see levels of growth, and therefore opportunity.” The CBRE survey is conducted annually to get the sentiment of investors. The company interviewed 300 people in commercial real estate from high net worth individuals and private investors to those representing institutional funds.
Other highlights from the report:
98% of respondents intend to invest in 2019, but there has been a pronounced shift toward greater caution in acquisitions.
2% of investment managers, 52% of REITs/private funds and 19% of institutional investors expect higher purchasing activity in 2019 compared to their activity level in 2018.
37% of respondents prefer investing in value-add properties, the most attractive asset acquisition strategy in the survey. 3
6% of respondents see a global economic downturn as the greatest threat in 2019, 17% worry about interest rates and 14% about the potential for a pricing bubble.