Forecasts are helpful, but how accurate they are is what ultimately counts.
CBRE undertook a review of the forecasts it made at the beginning of the year and updated its outlook through year-end and into 2024. For the most part, the company has nailed the trends that have been occurring in the CRE capital markets, with a few exceptions.
Namely, it has altered its prediction about the timing of a recession due to the resilient economy and persistent inflation. It now predicts if one happens it will occur in late 2023 or in the first quarter of 2024, one quarter later than it originally thought. A recession may bring a mild increase in unemployment to about 5%. Other headwinds of higher interest rates may affect growth negatively in this year’s second half and the restart of student loan payments may pare consumer spending. CBRE has adjusted its 2023 GDP growth forecast upward to 0.6% and 2024 growth forecast downward to 1.3%.
Investors have been cautious so far this year in their transactions, with volume down by 60% year-over-year in the second quarter. Uncertainty about interest rates and the outlook and tighter credit conditions are expected to continue to be hurdles to deal flow, but more stable conditions are coming, it predicts, before year-end. That should bring pick-up in investment activity, CBRE says.
Cap rates have increased by about 125 basis points for most property types but variations occur by market and are closer to 200 bps for office assets. By early 2024 there should be cap rate stabilization for all property types, except offices, which won’t stabilize until next mid-year.
Investment volume is forecast to decline by 37% year-over-year this year and increase by 15% next year due to greater certainty about interest rates and as the economic outlook supports stronger purchasing activity.
Finally, an interest rate cut is not expected until early 2024 and the 10-year Treasury rate will end this year at 3.8% before falling closer to 3% late next year.