Browse Tag: Business and Economy

CAM vs. Operating Expenses vs Capital Expenses: Drawing The Lines

One of the more entertaining, enlightening and lively commercial property conversations going is Howard Kline’s CRE Radio. I’m a fan of nearly anything that kicks off, as this show does, with a disclaimer that “what follows is specifically not legal advice” and warns to “consult your own counsel”.  This is usually a signal that what follows is going to get very interesting, and Howard’s show delivers on the premise.

A recent topic was CAM Charges And Operating Expenses – An Open Forum.  (CAM means common area maintenance charges, provisions in a commercial lease that charge tenants for shared aspects of a property such as building lobbies or parking lots).  Speaking to the issue of lease negotiations from both sides of the table, the discussion tackled the eternal issue of landlords and commercial tenants dividing up the various costs of doing business and maintaining property.  Anybody who ever wondered how maintenance costs and capital improvements can overlap and why will appreciate hearing where the lines get drawn sometimes.  Again, never take anecdotal input like this as legal advice applicable to your own deals, but I dare you to not be interested in the conversation.  It’s not every day you get to listen in as the hairs are split.  When a parking lot is repaved, as opposed to topcoated, are these different?  How might one classify them, as CAM or as capital?  In whose interests might lie such characterization?

Reminder: Nothing you read here constitutes legal advice in any way, shape or form!

REALTORS® Confidence Index: Apartment Rents Moving Up

A bit of good news comes in the form of a tip for commercial practitioners in the multi-family property market: December 2011 saw the average apartment rents in the US rise year-over-year, according to NAR Research’s REALTORS® Confidence Index.

Apartment rents are a key indicator of multifamily property performance and work as a leading indicator that touches everything from cap rates to REIT projections.

The Index, or RCI, is the result of a random sample taken monthly of thousands of  REALTOR® responses on the state of the housing market. The responses are to three basic questions:

  • How would you describe the current housing market in your region?
  • What are your expectations for the housing market over the next six months in your region?
  • How do you rate the traffic in your region?

The “selected comments” section of the report (download the full report PDF here) announces that rents are up somewhat from this time last year.







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Coldwell Commercial’s College Bowl Property Finder

How can college football and listings data combine to help out commercial real estate professionals?

Once upon a time, access to listings was the largest missing piece of commercial property marketing.  Today, depending on the market, a decent supply of listings is almost a given on the web.  Nowhere moreso than at, naturally.

Solving one problem only gives rise to another.  We have more access to more data than ever before.  What we now need is to know what to do with all those listings.  How do we turn data and information into knowledge and wisdom?

One way to describe a commercial property market research is to call it an effort to watch the flow of things – people, tenants, dollars, attention, construction.  And when we look at markets nationally, we are looking for fixed locations where these flows converge — especially in secondary markets not known for their powers of economic concentration.

Coldwell Banker Commercial’s College Bowl Property Finder is a great example of how to pattern property searches around places of convergence and economic importance in secondary and tertiary markets.

Coldwell Banker Commercial College Bowl Commercial Property Finder
Coldwell Banker Commercial College Bowl Commercial Property Finder

Searching for commercial properties for sale or lease nearby to 35 games in 30 different cities was never made easier than it is here.  Use it for ad hoc economic analysis in dozens of different ways – hospitality analysis, comps, cap rate thumbnails – or plot an investment strategy centered on the economic impacts represented by the bowl games to the surrounding community.

(“Communities” would be more accurate.  In one case, I found this tool’s idea of “nearby” a little optimistic — should the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, AZ really be listed as “nearby” to 138 miles-distant Flagstaff, AZ?    Then again, better to have too much data than too little, right? )

Tools like CBC’s College Bowl Property Finder will only grow in number across the business as time goes on and the industry continues to find ways of turning listings into gold, saving practitioners time and sparking imaginations across the marketplace.


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