New Report Forecasts Dreary Future for Commercial Property Market

October 20, 2016
Next year will be a banner time for commercial and multifamily mortgages, according to a new forecast from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA)

The commercial real estate market is facing a rocky near-term future, according to a new forecast issued by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Center for Capital Markets and Real Estate.

In its semi-annual survey of 51 economists and analysts, the ULI is predicting that commercial property transaction volume will decline to $428 billion by 2018. The report also predicts a fall in the issuance of commercial mortgage-backed securities, which are expected to reach $90 billion, a considerable drop from last year’s $101 billion level.

Among the industry’s sectors, declines are forecast in office vacancy rates and office rental growth, retail availability and retail rental growth, and hotel occupancy rates. Apartment vacancy rates and warehouse rental rates are being forecast to rise over the next three years.

“The length of the current expansion may weigh on forecasters’ minds, as well as uncertainty about the upcoming presidential election and economic and political turmoil abroad,” said ULI leader and survey participant William Maher, director of North American strategy and research at LaSalle Investment Management. “U.S. real estate markets are intricately tied to the broader economy and capital markets, both of which are growing more slowly than earlier in the cycle.  It is no surprise that the real estate market is following suit.”

Commercial