Here’s What CRE Investors Are Thinking As Inflation Ticks Up
A recent investor survey by Marcus & Millichap reveals that while CRE transactions may level out this year, investor sentiment remains strong.
The mid-year survey’s headline index value of 159 is “somewhat reminiscent of the trend we saw in 2016,”in which sentiment declined a bit as higher interest rates bit into the market, says Marcus & Millichap’s John Chang.
”But they’re not down by as much as people might expect,” he says.
In 2016, the index declined 12 points and the number of CRE transactions flattened. This year, the index has declined 11 points and that could deliver relatively similar results, in what Chang calls a “relatively modest softening.”
“Yes, the market is going through a recalibration as investors rework numbers based on the rising costs of capital, but the survey respondents aren’t telegraphing a significant market change,” he says.
According to the survey, the top two investor concerns are interest rates and inflation. About two-thirds said interest rate increases aren’t affecting their investment plans, and almost 9% said they’d buy more commercial real estate because of rising interest rates. On the sell side, 77% said the rate increases haven’t caused them to change plans and 11% said they plan to sell more.
Respondents were even more dismissive of inflation, according to the survey. Twenty-four percent of respondents said they’d buy less CRE but almost 12% said they’d buy more. The buying intentions with respect to more inflation-resistant property types like apartments, hotels and self-storage indexed higher, with about 14.4% of investors overall saying they’d buy more of those assets because of elevated inflation.
Cap rates are expected to rise as a result of rising interest rates as well, with 14% of investors surveyed saying they think cap rates will rise by 50 basis points or more over the next year. About 35% think they’ll go up by less than that, and 27% expect no change. And Chang says since there’s still a lot of capital coming into CRE, yields and stability look compelling.
“Consider that the last 12 months ending in the second quarter of 2022 was by far the most active commercial real estate investment transaction year on record,” Chang says. “Even if activity steps back a bit over the next 12 months, it will still likely rank as the second most active year.”