Debbie Martin, owner of DK Commercial: “2011 is the year that there will be a turning point in the market.”
Peter Oliver, principal at Brighton Corporation: “It’s going to be baby steps.”
Boise Mayor Dave Bieter: “There are some great signs out there.”
OK, so I was enjoying what I was hearing during BOMA’s Annual Commercial Real Estate Symposium on Feb 8. With an overflowing crowd of real estate experts, industry insiders, and developers crammed into Boise State’s Stueckle Sky Center, it was refreshing to learn that the worst may be over, in terms of recovering from a disastrous recession and market downturn.
Case in point, Bieter said building permits for fiscal year 2011 are up 8 percent from this same time last year. Permits for single-family housing units have also spiked, slightly, at 3 percent. While Bieter conceded that the values aren’t stellar, increased activity is.
More small signs that the economy is turning around came from Brook Blakeslee, retail brokerage specialist at Colliers International. He said that holiday sales were up 5.5 percent from 2009. Again, not a huge spike, but it’s encouraging.
Realistically though, cautious optimism was the word of the morning. Michael Ballantyne, managing principal at Thornton Oliver Keller, said full recovery with the commercial market is still going to be a slow process, even though TOK handled the most lease transactions in 2010 over any other year.
“We will not see fully recovery until properties that are bank-owned are transferred,” Ballantyne said.
Oliver mentioned that it’s realistic to think it could take another 12 to 24 months before it would make sense to begin new spec developments, but for more immediate relief in the commercial sector, positive news could start to emerge in the second half of 2011. However, considering how much Brighton has going on these days, it’s amazing to me to think that anything has slowed down for this powerhouse firm.
Baby steps and cautious optimism aside, it is wonderful that consensus surrounding the Treasure Valley’s real estate and development market might not be as shaky as it was a year or two years ago. For that reason, I am cheering and really rallying for an awesome 2011.