What happened to cap rates in 2010?
Rick Fernandez: The year started strong with investors returning to the market as interest rates fell and debt became available to a larger pool of investors. Unfortunately, the financial crisis in Greece and the potential for instability within the European Union quickly cooled the New Year’s optimism. The net lease market changed again in early July in part due to another drop in lending rates and a lack of quality supply of NNN properties. A more positive lending environment and improving market fundamentals along with the volatility of the stock market drove investors to look for more predictable and stable returns. In a few markets, cap rates began to compress dramatically. Sellers in these markets suddenly saw offers 50-100bps below the caps recorded at the beginning of the year.
What markets were particularly strong?
Rick Fernandez: Professionals in the net lease community agree that, from an investor’s perspective, first there is New York and Washington DC with Chicago and San Francisco trailing behind and then everywhere else. Those eager to invest quickly discovered that NNN properties in these markets were in short supply and properties of real quality were rarer still. The DC metropolitan region in particular is an extremely stable economy and investors from around the world have turned to the area for net lease investments. These investors viewed the DC metro area as one of the most stable markets in the world. International investors closed on bank and pharmacy deals in the DC metro area in 2010. The lease structure provided long initial terms with regular rent increases that, along with the investment grade credit rating of the tenants, offered a secure, stable and solid return on investment for the investors. The forecast remains strong and ULI in Emerging Trends In Real Estate 2011 predicts the DC area to be the top market for investing in 2011.
Rick Fernandez is Managing Director of Calkain Urban Investment Advisors.
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