Institutional investors are back in the industrial property game – LA Daily News

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Commercial real estate ownership is divided into those that use it for their operations and those who rely on the occupant to pay rent, also referred to as investors.

Sure, there is also a subset of occupant-investors — those who own the building from which their business operates. But today’s column focuses on the institutional investor.

Buy/sell, rent/lease residential &
commercials real estate properties.

First, a bit of background on the characteristics of this genre. Generally, the institutional investor sources its capital through other people. You may be thinking along these lines: My neighbor encouraged me to invest alongside him in acquiring a neighborhood shopping center. Is he an institutional investor? The answer is no.

The “other people” mentioned refers to large buckets of money — the capital markets — amassed by pension funds, life insurance companies and the stock market. If you’re a teacher, a police officer, a firefighter or work at city hall, a portion of your paycheck is deducted.

These dollars flow into funds which are then invested in stocks, bonds, and yes, commercial real estate.

Finally, you may have heard of a real estate investment trust or REIT. Publicly traded versions of REITs find money through the stock market. Prologis and Rexford are examples of REITs that develop, purchase, own and manage commercial real estate. And more specifically, industrial properties.

So, with that explanation as a backdrop, what are institutional investors experiencing these days?

After a period of caution, capital is once again flowing into industrial real estate. Institutional investors are seeing renewed interest from their funding sources, driven by the stability and long-term growth potential of the industrial sector.

Remember, investment activity came to a screeching halt two years ago as the Fed started its tightening pilot to tame decades-high inflation.

Coastal gateway markets, such as those in California, are experiencing heightened demand. These markets are crucial for import/export activities and provide strategic advantages for distribution and logistics operations.

With the economic uncertainties of the past few years beginning to settle, leasing also is becoming more predictable. Institutional investors now have a better understanding of market dynamics and tenant demand, allowing for more informed decision-making.

After a period of rising interest rates, we’re seeing a trend toward stabilization and even slight declines. This shift makes financing more attractive and affordable, spurring increased activity in property acquisitions and developments.

Institutional investors are optimistic about future rent growth. Factors such as limited supply of industrial space, growing e-commerce demand, and strategic locations near major transportation hubs are expected to drive rents upward.

All that said, institutional investors play a significant role in the commercial real estate market, especially in the industrial sector.

With capital returning, increased demand for strategic locations, clearer leasing dynamics, favorable interest rates and expectations for rent growth, the future looks promising for these major market players. Understanding their impact helps us all appreciate the broader trends shaping the commercial real estate market today.

Allen C. Buchanan, SIOR, is a principal with Lee & Associates Commercial Real Estate Services in Orange. He can be reached at [email protected] or 714.564.7104.

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