Charlotte, the new Austin?
No one is suggesting the Queen City is about to become like the Texas technology and jobs powerhouse that has been a darling of commercial real estate investors for years.
But its possible, a moderator suggested Tuesday during an industry webcast that compared markets around the country.
The webcast looked at the Emerging Trends in Real Estate report, published by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Urban Land Institute. Based on surveys and interviews, the report has studied the industry since 1979.
Its official, were in a recovery, said Chuck DiRocco, PwCs director of real estate research. But, he said, Its recovery anchored in uncertainty.
Among the top markets to watch: San Francisco, New York and San Jose, large cities near ports, known among investors as 24-hour gateway cities.
Austin ranked No. 4 on the list. Raleigh was No. 11 and Charlotte was 17th.
The Queen City got some promising nods for its potential during the forecast, however.
The top markets are becoming overheated and prices are climbing. So investors are moving into the secondary markets, including Charlotte, Raleigh, Memphis, Portland and Nashville.
During Tuesdays 90-minute presentation, moderators asked the more than 250 participants to answer questions. One asked people which secondary market they would consider acquiring a stabilized office property in during 2013. Respondents could choose from Denver, Charlotte, Austin and San Jose.
Charlotte was the clear winner, receiving more than 37 percent of the vote, prompting moderator Mitch Roschelle to say, Charlotte may very well be the new Austin, Texas. That is good news in that front.
When determining the hot markets, the forecasts authors focused on those that could best sustain strong job and population growth. Charlotte was praised for its strong net migration ranking 7th out of the 51 metropolitan areas studied.
Where the jobs are. That is where investors are looking, DiRocco said.
Some economists have recently characterized Charlottes economic growth, as well as the nations, as disappointing. One local economist said the city and state have added jobs too slowly. But there have been promising signs of recovery.
While commercial property prices remain well below their pre-recession peaks, for example, Charlottes uptown posted a record year for office building sales in 2012. Brokers sold more than $500 million worth of office buildings, including the Hearst Tower. Brokers involved in the deals say the buyers are national and international institutions.
Kerry Singe: 704-358-5085
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