Foreign Investment Rising for Net Lease Assets

Foreign investment in commercial real estate is on the rise due to the search for yield and portfolio diversification, according to the World Property Journal. Globally, investment in net lease properties (office, retail, and industrial) averaged $3 billion per year from 2011 to 2014 and is up to more than $8 billion per year from 2015 to 2019. In the United States, foreign investments for Q1 2019 represented 15.1% of net lease transactions, totaling $1.9 billion, up 6.6% compared to Q1 last year when they only represented 12.9% of the market. In 2018, foreign investors held 30.1% more net lease properties than in 2017, an $8.8 billion increase.

Most of these investors are from Canada, South Korea, and China. Canadians invested $5.55 billion, with a focus on industrial properties; South Koreans invested $3.28 billion, overwhelmingly preferring office space; and Chinese investments of $3.22 billion also focused on industrial assets.

So far this year, New York City, San Francisco, Boston, Dallas, Columbus, and Los Angeles have received the most foreign capital, but commercial real estate investments in high-growth secondary and tertiary markets like Phoenix, Seattle, Baltimore, and Atlanta are also becoming popular.

Source: World Property Journal

San Jose and Oakland challenge SF in private equity real estate market

California’s largest cities for real estate investment, San Francisco and Los Angeles, are now being challenged by San Jose and Oakland. California holds almost 20% of the private equity real estate (PERE) in the country and 12% of global PERE assets under management, according to a study by accounting and advisory firm EisnerAmper and Preqin. PERE properties include office buildings (high-rise, urban, suburban and garden offices); industrial properties (warehouse, research and development, flexible office/industrial space); retail properties, shopping centers (neighborhood, community, and power centers); and multifamily apartments (garden and high-rise). Less common but still an option are senior or student housing, hotels, self-storage, medical offices, single-family housing to own or rent, undeveloped land, and manufacturing space (via Investopedia). 

So how do the Bay Area cities compare?

San Francisco’s strength is in its office market, with $3.2 billion PERE deals in 2018 (a $1 billion increase over 2017) and another $1 billion already invested this year as the Bay Area’s largest tech companies continue to expand. The overall PERE total for last year was $4 billion,down from $4.8 billion in 2017; according to an article in the San Francisco Business times, “the drop-off in the quantity of large mixed-use transactions compared with recent years is at the heart of the decrease.” San Francisco is also running out of space, which limits growth.

While San Francisco is still the largest market for office transactions in the Bay Area, San Jose is leading in growth. Their office transactions in 2017 and 2018 both reached $1 billion, with a record in 2018 at $1.2 billion. In Q1 of 2019 alone, these transactions reached $500 million, putting San Jose on track to quadruple its PERE deals this year. The overall PERE total for 2018 was another record of $2.7 billion, almost 60% more than 2017 and a sharp contrast to San Francisco. 

Oakland may be emerging as a competitor, with more reasonable housing options for tenants; the tech company Square announced at the end of last year their intent to move 2,000 employees into an Oakland office. Even as a smaller city, it is on track to reach a total of $1 billion in PERE deals this year, with $560 million in Q1 2019 already; $493 million of that was just two office space deals by Starwood Capital Group. The city also has more Opportunity Zones than either of the other two cities.

With San Francisco as the “benchmark,” San Jose as the “growth leader,” and Oakland as the “up and comer” (according to the SF Business Times), all three cities are going strong.

Source: SF Business Times

 

Tech booms, but small retail struggles in Silicon Valley

While Silicon Valley’s tech sector is thriving, cranking out IPOs and flooding the region with high-paying jobs, its retail industry is struggling to keep its boutiques and tiny mom and pop shops open.

The number of retail businesses — particularly small retail businesses — has dropped significantly in the Bay Area between 2007 and 2017, according to data from the state Economic Development Department. Experts blame a host of factors, including high rents, increased competition from online vendors, a rising minimum wage and increased health care costs.

The average rent per square foot for retail space in San Jose increased nearly 9 percent between 2015 and 2017. It also rose 9 percent in Oakland, and in San Francisco, it inched up almost 5 percent. Even incremental rent hikes can cause trouble for small businesses, which often operate on a thin profit margin.

At the same time, Bay Area home prices and rents have become so expensive that many local retail workers can no longer afford to live near their jobs, forcing them to commute long hours or quit.

Read the full article on The Mercury News

Read our June 11, 2019 newsletter

What are San Francisco’s plans for Mid-Market?

 Mid-Market’s vacancies, stalled developments trigger plants to activate dormant sites.

Stalled developments have meant boarded-up walls, vandalism and empty storefronts have become all too common along the upper stretch of Market Street. The city is hoping a new type of temporary permit will spark change.

Read more on NAI Northern California’s newsletter

How would San Francisco’s proposed fees on empty storefronts affect retail and mixed-use properties?

This week the San Francisco Board of Supervisors will vote on whether to require owners of vacant storefronts unoccupied for more than 30 days to register their properties and pay an annual fee. This is one of the proposals they are considering to get a better idea of and start to remedy the glut of unused storefront space around the city.

Read more on Curbed San Francisco

Downtown San Jose hotel tower proposal gets dozens more rooms

19-story hotel in downtown San Jose would have 272 rooms.

A downtown San Jose hotel tower would have many more rooms than first proposed, according to new plans being offered by the project’s developer.

Originally, the hotel planned for the northeast corner of North Almaden Boulevard and West Santa Clara Street would have contained 220 rooms, but the latest plans propose 272 rooms, plans from project developer KT Urban shows.

“There are several key factors driving the demand for new hotel rooms in the downtown core,” said Mark Tersini, principal executive with KT Urban. “They include convention center demands for larger venues, job growth in San Jose and the Bay Area, office expansion, along with the SAP Center events.”

Among the biggest corporate plans for downtown San Jose: Google plans a transit village of offices, homes, shops, restaurants and parks near the Diridon train station, while Adobe is pushing ahead with a big expansion of its existing three-building  campus with the addition of a fourth office tower.

Plus, other firms such as WeWork, Zoom and Xactly have expanded downtown, and WeWork wants even more office space for its co-working concept.

“We believe the hotel as designed will be a tremendous addition to the downtown core, providing state-of-the-art accommodations,” Tersini said.

Some residents have raised concerns that the hotel’s proposed height could overshadow nearby buildings such as the adjacent De Anza Hotel and block views of residents living in the Axis residential tower.

 

Read more at East Bay Times

 

 

Fight brews over hotel and housing project near Moscone Center

In San Francisco’s SoMa, an argument over city transparency could threaten to derail a key hotel and housing project. 

Across the street from the Moscone Center, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency wants to turn a 732-spot garage on public land into a lucrative development. The idea is to help lure more conventions to the expanded Moscone Center, which just underwent a $550 million renovation, and build urgently needed affordable home.

But SFMTA has made a series of missteps that reveal a lack of transparency in how cities may handle public land, say community advocates, including keeping the development proposals private, not holding public meetings, and delaying the selection process. Those criticisms boiled over at a recent SFMTA board meeting and have worked their way up to the district supervisor’s ears.

The SFMTA is “trying to hold its cards closer to the chest, but that may end up making problems for them moving forward,” said District 6 Supervisor Matt Haney, who represents the surrounding constituents. Haney is meeting with community members tonight about the process.

 

Read more at San Francisco Business Times

 

If California pursues a cap on rent increases, how many tenants will it actually help?

What happened to all that talk about rent control?

Less than four months after an initiative to allow cities to expand rent control failed overwhelmingly at the ballot box, and less than four months after then-incoming Gov. Gavin Newsom talked about brokering a compromise between tenant and landlord groups, no new legislation from lawmakers or specific proposals from the Newsom administration have been introduced to cap how much rents can rise.Legislators who have backed rent control expansions in the past say they’re working on proposals to help tenants stay in their homes. Newsom, in his State of the State address earlier this month, called on the Legislature to send him tenant protections he could sign into law, although he didn’t offer any specifics.

“Everything is on the table,” said Assemblyman David Chiu, Democrat from San Francisco, who co-authored a failed rent control bill last year. “From topics like just cause eviction to Costa Hawkins and other protections, everything is being considered.”

One possible compromise: A bill to ban “rent gouging,” similar to one poised to take effect in Oregon.

That measure, expected to be signed by Gov. Kate Brown in the next few weeks, would make Oregon the nation’s first state to enact anti-gouging provisions covering the vast majority of rental properties within its borders. While often characterized as statewide “rent control,” in reality it focuses on the most flagrant rent hikes—typically 10 percent or more.

“It was surprising to see (Oregon) with that type of success. It was heartening,” said Chiu. “As California policymakers we like to think we’re leading, but in this instance, hats off to our Oregon counterparts.”

Chiu stresses that any rent-gouging bill would need to be part of more comprehensive tenant protections, and that other more stringent rent control measures are still a possibility.

A UC Berkeley housing think tank released an anti-gouging proposal last year after consulting with both landlord and tenant groups. A Bay Area regional housing plan popular with state legislators from the area offers a similar solution.

So what exactly would an anti-gouging law in California actually look like? And how many people would it actually help?

No one can say yet.

 

Read more at East Bay Times

 

Silicon Valley has the highest housing costs in the U.S.

Report says both incomes and costs soaring in the state’s tech capitol.

It’s the best of time and the worst of times in Silicon Valley, at least according to Joint Venture Silicon Valley, a regional think-tank that issued its annual Silicon Valley Index last week.

The 2019 index, a “comprehensive report based on indicators that measure the strength of our economy and the health of our community,” describes the Valley as materially successful but fundamentally anxious, as new wealth puts additional stress on those most vulnerable.

The report defines Silicon Valley as a broad region encompassing parts of Santa Clara, San Mateo, and Alameda Counties, ranging from Daly City to Union City to Gilroy to Scotts Valley.

The index includes some data from San Francisco for context but does not include the city as part of its larger regional definition. Most of the data covers 2017, with some references to 2018 as well.

 

Read more at Curbed SF 

 

 

Developers claim co-living suites earn more per square foot than regular apartment rentals

Co-living developers in New York and Washington, D.C. report strong demand from renters.

Hundreds of co-living suites are renting quickly at ALTA LIC, a new high-rise apartment building in Long Island City, Queens.

“We are now about four months ahead of our expected pace,” says Christopher Bledsoe, co-founder and CEO of Ollie, the company managing the ALTA’s co-living apartments.

Companies like Ollie are proving that there is plenty of renter demand for co-living arrangements. The co-living spaces at ALTA are now earning more dollars per sq. ft. than the new conventional apartments in the same building. Other operators of co-living properties also report strong results at their projects.

“We can only speak to performance of our OSLO properties… and they have been exceptional,” says Martin Ditto, CEO of Ditto, a company that operates three fully-occupied co-living properties in the Washington, D.C. metro area, and is now planning to open a fourth.

Strong rents prove demand for co-living

“Co-living” is a living arrangement in which the residents share some aspects of their living spaces with each other. It’s not as radical as it sounds—for Ollie and Ditto’s OLSO brand, co-living typically takes the form of multi-bedroom apartments shared by roommates. For years, the student housing industry has also been building suites that students share as roommates.

“Our product type is a natural evolution of the student housing model,” says Ollie’s Bledsoe.

ALTA LIC opened in May 2018 with 466 apartments. Of those, Ollie is operating 169 as furnished co-living suites with a total of 422 bedrooms. According to Bledsoe, it’s the largest purpose-built co-living property in the United States.

After less than a year in operation, 73 percent of these units are occupied, with renters paying from $1,260 to about $2,200 per month for a bedroom. The higher priced units may be larger, have better view, private entrances off the hallway or their own, un-shared bathrooms.

The cost of a bedroom also includes wireless Internet service and weekly housekeeping services, including bed linen, towels and toilet paper, along with shampoo and hand soap from Malin & Goetz. “It is the convenience of hotel living,” says Bledsoe.

The units are sized for efficiency and come furnished with custom furniture designed by Ollie to make the best use of small spaces. “For us a 535-square-foot studio is a two-bedroom micro-suit… a 750-square-foot one or two-bedroom is a three-bedroom suite,” says Bledsoe.

These co-living suites earn an average of 44 percent more income in rent per sq. ft. than the more conventional 297 luxury apartments at the 43-story tower, according to Bledsoe. The net operating income from these units is also 30 percent higher per sq. ft., even with the extra cost of co-living amenities like the housekeeping service.

 

Read more at National Real Estate Investor