The Minneapolis-St. Paul Real Commercial Estate Market continues to perform admirably with office and industrial sectors demonstrating excellent performance throughout 2019. The Markets characteristics remain upbeat and include positive net absorption of vacant space, moderate to low vacancy rates and measured new speculative development. Economic conditions remain favorable however, recent statics raise concern for the continued overall economic growth in Minnesota and the USA. While inflation continues to remain low at about 2% (annualized), unemployment has increased from 2.5% to 2.9% and median income for Minnesota households as stagnated year over year at $70,300-both still much better numbers than the national averages of 3.4% unemployment and median household income of $63,179 respectively. The 15 month trade war with China combined with all of the uncertainty in Washington DC (impeachment and gridlock) and slowing business investment-down 1% on an annualized rate last quarter create potential headwinds to sustained future economic growth.
Industrial has been the best performing asset class of real estate since the Great Recession in 2009. Vacancy rates are at an all-time low (4.9%) in a Twin City universe of 248 million square feet and have decreases by 1% since the beginning of 2019.
Net Absorption of available space stands at 2.73 million square feet through the third quarter of this year with bulk (high-bay) warehouse experiencing 1.74 million square feet of net absorption. Driving the net absorption has been e-commerce related companies localizing the distribution of almost everything now available on the internet.
To date there are 27 industrial projects under construction totaling 3.6 million square feet. 1.9 million square feet has already been delivered to the market.
Collectively, what all this most likely indicates is a continuation, at least through 2020, of relatively good conditions and performance for the industrial market. The two current deterring factors, other than an economic slowdown, are the cost of tenant improvements and finding and hiring employees.
The office market continues its long standing recovery albeit some sub markets are stronger than others. The overall office vacancy rate for all Twin Cities office properties is 11.8%, which is down .8% from January 2019, however within multi-tenant properties the vacancy rate is 15.4%. The northeast office market has the lowest vacancy rate at 8.6% and St. Paul CBD has the highest vacancy rate approaching 20%. Class A multi-tenant office space has the lowest vacancy rate at 12.5%, Class B Office space is at 17.7% and Class C is 13.8%.
Net absorption Year to Date is 363,871 square feet. Actual absorption Year to Date is 504,247 square feet, however sublease space create 128,052 square feet of negative absorption.
The office market performance has instilled enough confidence in a local developer to spec a 361,104 square foot office building in the West End mixed use development named 10 West End. Net rental rates are projected to start at $25.50/sf.
One new office market characteristic that has been gaining momentum is the demand for building amenities. Many office buildings have completed or are planning to complete updates to building common areas, add amenities such as work out areas, coffee bars, common area meeting spaces, food service, and concierge services among other things. Many of today’s sophisticated tenants want space that is fun, functional and will retain and attract top talent in the current tight labor market.