The 2012 Prediction Season: What’s Coming And Why Do You Want To Know?

The Crystal Ball
The Crystal Ball

It’s January in Chicago at The Source HQ.  The traditional climate may have left us —  very little snow and bitter cold thus far, thank you very much.  But one thing hasn’t changed:  it’s prediction season in the commercial real estate business.

Perched as we are on the edge of a new year, we struggle to get a narrative of 2012 before 2012 happens.  We sample the economic winds and peer into the tea leaves, trying to divine a trend, spot an opportunity, separate signal from noise.  Industry leaders share their outlooks, government agencies publish their data, our personal networks in our markets keep our ears to the ground.  And we pay close attention.

But why, exactly?

It’s one thing to read and follow this stuff, but how exactly might we use it?  That’s not so clear in every case. To hear that your local mall’s anchor tenant is expanding, prompting a friendly neighborhood tenant rep to cocktail-napkin that mall’s numbers and adjust expectations about the coming year’s negotiations – well, that’s pretty direct use of market intelligence.

But what exactly do you do when you hear something more diffuse and abstract, but with no less potential impact to your neighborhood beat?  When such-and-such agency or pundit proclaims a nationwide rise in medical-retail tenants is expected to continue…and that aforementioned mall has no such tenant yet?

This is a question we’re going to be exploring here at The Source this month.  We’ll be looking at a series of predictions, but what’s new is we’re going to be starting a discussion on how to use these predictions to get in front of opportunities, better serve communities and add value to transactions.  Steps to take to put these forecasts to work and make sense of abstract economic signals.

That’s my prediction, anyway.  I might be wrong.



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