After spending the majority of the past two days out stopping in to talk to past clients and potential new clients and reflecting on these conversations with Tenants, building owners, as well as conversations with various other brokers in this market and others throughout the past few months, I offer my $ .02:
While I hear that other industrial markets such as the inland empire & other areas of So. Cal, Salt Lake, Phoenix, Seattle-Tacoma, etc. have seen rents come back up and in some cases get back to pre-recession rates, the Northern Nevada market is basically handcuffed by the fact that an unnamed “Institutional Industrial Property Owner” owns such a huge percentage of this market’s industrial space. The “Industrial Property Owner” is not bound by the same constraints that individual building owners and even other decent sized institutional owners are & they are hell-bent on winning every deal and are providing rates that are hard to stomach for most. The other phenomenon that has developed is that there are not as many price-point breaks in relation to size compared to how it used to be in a healthy market…again mostly driven by this “Institutional Industrial Property Owner” for the most part. It used to be that you had price-point breaks that were as follows: 5k, 5-10, 10-20, 30-50, 50-100, 100-200, & 200+. Now it is: under 10k, 10-30, & 30+ & that is it! A Tenant can get the same screaming low rates for 35k that they can for 400k. For owners that can offer 30 ft clear heights, ESFR sprinklers, and maybe a one or two other amenities, their niche sub-market is maybe a bit stronger as they have far less competition and there are not near as many options for Tenants that require these specs…however, the rates for those buildings are not substantially higher, maybe just less concessions and a penny or two psf difference effective over a given term / rate schedule.
Bottom line – if an industrial property owner wants to do deals in the next year, they will unfortunately be forced to compete with the current “Institutional Industrial Property Owner’s” numbers. We don’t like it any more than our building owner clients do as it drastically effects our business and as inflation across the board is rumored to be pushing 30%, building owners and anyone tied to this business is not maintaining cash flows with increases anywhere close to the rapidly increasing cost of gas and groceries. All we (owners of industrial and anyone tied to N NV real estate) can really hope to do for the next year is break even on our cash flows & it will take a focus on continued hard work & fighting like a dog to be involved in as many potential real estate decisions as possible. Activity is picking up & more businesses are doing better every day but, most still do not have much optimism that the fundamentals in N Nevada will be changing in regards to industrial real estate any time soon.
What does that mean to me? If you are a current owner and have survived the past few years, congratulations, you have done better than many others and keep doing whatever you have been doing to survive a bit longer & keep hoping for the uptick…or cut your losses and get out but, be prepared to do so at very low numbers. If you are a buyer for investment or as a business owner-user, this is as good of a time as any if you have the ability & desire to spend the capital required to obtain a loan at today’s 30 year historic low rates & lots of inventory to choose from….just make sure you focus on quality property (see above on the competitive advantages of higher caliber buildings) & if you are an owner-user the quality will provide for a far better exit strategy someday when you need to unload the asset. If you are a Tenant, re-negotiate & renew your lease now or go find the new location that will work for your business for at least the next 5 years and lock in at today’s historic low rates for at least 5 years. Whatever you do, just make sure you have a hard working knowledgeable brokerage team on your roster when you try to make sense of how to best approach the ever-changing N NV market and expect them to provide solutions to the seemingly insurmountable challenges and decisions. If you are an industrial real estate broker, try to keep smiling…. No matter who you are, don’t forget to spend time with your family, remember what is most important in life, & keep it all in perspective!
We take it with a grain of salt but, Miller Industrial had a GREAT year in 2010, and a VERY GOOD year in 2011 market share wise, in regards to company growth, and, most importantly, in consideration of the results we have continued to provide for our highly valued clients. And we are getting better every day – we look forward to looking back on these times someday with our clients / friends and toasting to a job well done by all. We can’t do it without guys like you, so thank you for your loyalty and past business.