Utah's commercial real estate market has fared better, with more stable outcomes, than most markets across the nation, according to speakers at the 2012 Utah Commercial Real Estate Symposium, held in Salt Lake City on Jan. 31.
"Salt Lake and Utah face challenges just like other areas of the country, but private sector leadership in job creation is adding value to the economy and providing a model for us about what we need to do different," said Dr. Sam Chandan, president & chief economist at Chandan Economics and adjunct professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, who delivered the symposium's keynote address.
To be sure, Utah's industrial, retail, office and commercial investment sectors -- all battered by the Great Recession -- are all rebounding.
Brett Palmer, retail/investment property specialist with NAI West Commercial Real Estate, said the retail market picked up its pace toward the end of 2011, and most retail market indicators and data appeared better in the second half of 2011, particularly in the fourth quarter.
"The consensus is that more retailers are genuinely committed to opening new stores. As a result, market activity is up," he explained. "There is a bridge forming between landlords and tenants, sellers and buyers, making them more acceptable of new market norms. As a result, nearly all transaction types have increased."
Palmer added that the total number of lease transactions was up 13.64 percent and owners' sales were up 28.57 percent. Still, the four Cs: cautious, careful, calculated, and certainty generally describe the current attitudes of retailers, landlords and lenders and largely determine their modes of operation.
Looking to the future, Palmer said most of the indicators within the local market's retail sector and generally in the state's economy seem to point to continued momentum in 2012 from that generated during 2011, particularly the fourth quarter.
Read the rest of this story in our Utah Site Selection Quarterly newsletter, Winter edition.