WHAT IS YOUR RENT TO REVENUE RATIO?
One financial metric that many business owners are unfamiliar with is the industry rent-to-revenue ratio (I-RRR). The math is simple; rent paid divided by total revenue from operations. Naturally, some industries will pay a higher percentage of their revenue in rent; a retail shop will surely pay a different percentage of revenue to rent compared to a small law firm.
So what is your I-RRR? With data collected across the entire nation, manufacturers, on average, paid 1.78% of their total revenue from operations toward rent. In 2017, they paid 1.87%; 2018 they paid 1.77%; and in 2019, they paid 1.69%
The amount of rent a business must pay involves many factors. Location, site access, building quality, and, most importantly, market conditions are all factors. A business in New York City will certainly pay more in rent while a business in rural Minnesota may pay less. The formula is simple, but the underlying factors can be quite complicated. Many companies believe their I-RRR should be much lower during this economic slowdown. However, the dramatic drop in rents that occurred in 2008-2009 has not happened…yet. It is possible that large-scale business closures create urgency on behalf of landlords to make low cost deals, but it is not happening now. Stay tuned for more market information as we near the end of 2021.
Source of Data: Bizminer.com
WHAT IS YOUR RENT TO REVENUE RATIO?
MID-YEAR 2020 INDUSTRIAL MARKET UPDATE
Net Absorption & Vacancy Rates
Statistically, Q2 2020 is showing the effects of COVID-19 on industrial leasing activity and the industrial market. Net absorption of vacant space during Q2 2020 was only 107,345 SF compared to 829,298 SF for Q2 2019. YTD net absorption for 2020 totals 330,369 SF compared to 1,587,669 SF in 2019.
The difference in the net absorption numbers (SF) between 2019 and 2020 is significant. However, the industrial market remains healthy as demonstrated by the overall industrial vacancy rate of 5.0% through the Q2 2019 and 4.8% through Q2 2020. More specifically, YTD industrial vacancy rates reflect the continued sound condition of the market by product type:
What is Influencing this Market Condition?
Two characteristics of the current market have significantly influenced the ongoing strong conditions of the industrial market: 1) Vacancy rates were at historical lows prior to the introduction of COVID-19 and, 2) Delivery of new industrial product to the market year-over-year has moderated. YTD Q2 2019 deliveries of new industrial product totaled 1,853,203 SF. While Q2 2020 new deliveries of industrial product totaled only 906,571 SF. The combination of less new development coming on line and limited negative absorption has enabled vacancy rates to remain low. Therefore, the overall market is in a state of good health.
Current expectations between landlords and tenants do seem to significantly differ. Tenants believe the industrial market has weakened and landlords are still very bullish on the market. A major reason for this difference in perception of the market has been the media’s reporting on the commercial real estate market. Retail and office space have been significantly impacted by COVID-19, so far in 2020. COVID-19 has had a very limited impact on new industrial lease terms and conditions, at least through Q2 2020. Limited net free rent, and tenant improvement packages, combined with strong net rates seems to be the story of the day for most industrial properties. The one exception to these healthy characteristics is office/flex/showroom product. Office/flex/showroom product still requires net free rent and significant improvement dollars generally to consume a new lease.
Hottest Industrial Market Segment
One of the brightest spots in the industrial market is User/Owner building sales. The limited supply of functional industrial properties currently available For Sale, combined with the low interest rate environment for debt, has pushed User/Owner building values to all time highs. Specifically, well-located properties receive multiple offers in many instances.
What is to Come
Finally, finding a vaccine that will make the current pandemic a thing of the past will remove much of the uncertainty existing today in the economy and the commercial/industrial real estate market. If the pandemic continues on into next year, the statistics and resulting story being told may be much different than it is today.
Written by: Phil Simonet, Principal
Successful Commercial Leasing=Understanding Your Rent
by Bob Johnston | Vice President Sales & Leasing
THE TERMINOLOGY OF RENT
Most commercial leases today are “net leases”, meaning that the tenant pays a “base rent” which is “net rent”, or separate from, the operating costs and real estate taxes for the property. The operating costs are then passed on to the tenant as a separate cost, equaling a total rent cost and what many then refer to as “gross rent.”
Even this varies, however, from property to property. For example, often times in retail and industrial properties, tenants pay for their use of electricity and gas as well as janitorial services. In addition, sometimes the tenant, at its expense, must contract for local trash pick-up. These separately contracted costs are not part of the ordinary operating expenses. On the other hand, office leases typically are “full service” leases. In other words, there are generally no extra charges, other than perhaps charges for extraordinary use of services such as air conditioning or cleaning, etc.
It is critical that a tenant understand the complete picture and know what the total rent will be. In addition, it is also critical that the tenant understand what expenses make up operating costs and what costs are reasonable and legitimate. It is obviously to the landlord’s advantage to get the tenant to pay as much of the total operating budget as possible. This is even more critical in mixed-use projects where landlords tend to shift maintenance costs for the residences to the office component. Thus, the office tenant contribution is actually more than what it should be. I once audited the landlord of a very large mixed-use project in Chicago and found over $100,000 wrongfully allocated to the tenant even though the lease prohibited their doing so.
WHAT SHOULD NOT BE INCLUDED IN RENT?
Here are some suggestions as to what to eliminate from the landlord’s menu. The list is obviously not exhaustive, but rather illustrative of some of the costs landlords attempt to pass on to tenants:
Leasing commissions, space planning expenses with architects/interior designers, or even attorney costs associated with a lease negotiation or existing tenant dispute
Costs associated with the construction of tenant improvements, either with new tenant relocations or existing tenant renovations and remodeling
Costs associated with the entity of landlord, particularly as it relates to partnership/ownership issues or the selling or refinancing the property
Many large landlords have affiliates or interests in affiliate companies, so it is important to ensure that the contracted vendor costs are no more than what an unrelated third party vendor might charge
Be careful about the expenses for salaries, benefits, etc. that go into “management fees.” Executive salaries, or any allocation of those salaries, should not be part of the operating costs for the building
Capital improvements are not, by accounting standards, expense items, although landlords can routinely pass on the amortized cost of the improvement as an operating expense
Make certain that in a retail environment, the tenant’s pro-rata share of operating expenses is calculated over the entire leasable area of the property rather than only on the space currently leased and occupied.
Proper due diligence and understanding of the components of a building’s operating budget are critical to a tenant’s successful occupancy, financial stability and long-term enjoyment of the space.