Is This 2008 All Over Again?
Industrial Building Values
Even in the best economies, owners are curious about the value of their building. In times of economic uncertainty, this question takes on even more significance. For many business owners, this recession may be forcing them to ask the tough questions related to building values. The short answer is that buildings are not worth what they were 60-days ago. Beyond that, future predictions require a well-informed analysis.
First, a bit of history. The 2008 Great Recession eliminated most of the demand for industrial space, both for lease and for sale; however, the supply of available buildings did not change significantly. This supply and demand imbalance created a significant drop in building sale prices that was at times up to 33%. Contrasted with today’s environment, the low supply of available buildings has pushed prices to unheard of levels. In fact, some high-quality owner-user buildings were selling for $100 per square foot or more, an all-time high in the Twin Cities. The current crisis will certainly reduce demand for buildings, which is already becoming obvious through terminated purchase agreements, fewer showings, fewer offers, and reduced offer prices.
Naturally, values must come down, but will they drop precipitously like they did in 2008? Probably not. And here are a few reasons why:
#1: Some industrial companies are thriving which will preserve some demand for industrial buildings
For example, clothing manufacturers are now making masks, plastic extruders are now making partitions for retail stores, medical manufactures are now making face shields, and the list goes on. This is different than 2008. During that crisis, it was hard to find any thriving industrial business that still wanted to buy real estate.
#2: Banks are still lending and interest rates for owner-users are exceptionally low
For example, the SBA 504 rate is currently 2% over the 5-year Treasury bill, which is under 1%. Bank interest rates are also 1-2% lower than before the crises. This lower cost of capital will help those who are thriving to borrow money for real estate.
#3: There is pent up demand
Many companies have been searching for the right building to buy for years. Because supply has been so low, these companies have lost out in multiple-offer situations and because many buildings traded immediately when hitting the public market. Many of these would-be buyers are still healthy and able to jump on the right opportunity when it appears.
So, back to the original question, what is the value of your industrial building today? Recent reductions in list prices and re-trading of existing deals indicates that values have declined by 10%-20%. A more accurate analysis is to look at values over time. Down 10%-20% today; however, if the drop-off in economic activity continues, values could continue to fall. A resurgence of Covid-19 could create the dreaded “W” recession, and another dip in economic activity and value. If the economy is opened for business soon and can get back to a more normal level of activity, values may stabilize and begin to rise as we all get back to work.
Stay tuned for more analysis as events unfold over the next few months.
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