Commercial Real Estate Outlook: 2018.Q1

Analysis from RCA pointed to a growing gap between sellers’ high price expectations and buyers’ willingness to pay those high prices. 
The small cap space closed the chapter on 2017 on an upbeat note. Commercial real estate in SCRE markets continued to experience advances in investment sales, as the momentum picked up in the final quarter of the year. Following on the second quarter’s 4.4 percent increase and the third quarter’s 3.6 percent gain in sales volume, REALTORS® reported that sales volume advanced a solid 9.1 percent in the fourth quarter. 
International transactions remained a fixture in  REALTORS®’ CRE markets in the final quarter of the 2017. The average international sale price was $1.2 million in the fourth quarter of the year. Indicating a likely preference for safety of capital over returns, the average cap rate for SCRE international deals was 6.7 percent.
Office demand softened in the fourth quarter of 2017, even as employment in office-using industries expanded.  Office vacancies increased 1.7 percent in the fourth quarter, to $32.17 per square footIndustrial vacancy declined in the fourth quarter, to 4.5 percent. Industrial asking rents advanced in the fourth quarter by 0.6 percent, to $6.92 per square foot.
With rising wages and employment, consumer optimism was well- reflected in the fourth quarter’s  holiday shopping season figures. Demand for retail spaces advanced, with net absorption totaling 3.1 million square feet during the quarter, according to CBRE. Retail construction activity slowed, with completions totaling 9.1 million square feet. The retail availability rate picked up, moving to 6.6 percent in the fourth quarter, as asking retail rents reached $17.12 per square foot.