The Power is Now

My holiday wish list for commercial real estate – Press-Enterprise

With Thanksgiving a recent memory, Hanukkah in full swing, and Christmas fewer than 30 days away … it’s time for some holiday spirit!

Countless kiddos around the globe — including our five grandkids — are assembling their lists. So I thought it would be fun to pencil my five hopes for the 2022 commercial real estate market — aka my gift list for this coming year.

So, with no further ado, here goes.

A more balanced market. Industrial real estate — buildings where folks make, store, and ship things — has been on a tear for the past six years. Currently, fewer than 1-in-100 structures are without an occupant!

With demand outstripping supply, lack of new construction, shifts in the way consumers shop, and a hyper-appetite for stuff – we find an acute imbalance. Pricing for offerings has skyrocketed as a result and many people wonder if rents are sustainable.

So I’m wishing for a bit more sanity.

Disappearing office uncertainty. I’ve often opined, transactions occur when activity is waxing or waning. But uncertainty is a killer for a business reliant upon movement.

The market has witnessed some big office deals by Amazon — such as buying the former Orange County Register printing plant site in Santa Ana and the campus of Bank of America in Brea. But, a repurpose is in store for both. The former suites housing executives to middle management to clerical staffs will be gone, replaced by countless blue delivery vans.

Pandemic pressures shifted the office paradigm. Companies countered with “hybrid” approaches requiring smaller footprints, virtual workplaces, and less collaborative layouts.

Wishing here for some long-term leases on big blocks of offices.

Solving the port issue. Talk about a perfect storm that’s like an anaconda consuming a Thanksgiving meal or six: The bulge of e-commerce containers that are slowly moving through the supply chain.

Many people much more informed than I have waxed about the causes. Simply, all points of the supply chain are crimped – causing massive delays, shortages, and escalating price tags. Certainly, some reduction in regulation would help. A bit more warehouse space could help, too. Asking America to pause its purchasing for a period?

I’m wishing for a stable flow of goods by July 4th.

Continued low interest rates. Rising interest rates might be the best for us – like ripping off a bandage. But, wow! How incredibly painful for an economy reliant upon cheap money.

Our 10-year Treasuries rate – the benchmark for commercial real estate lending – has hovered in the low 1% range for a few years. Great for borrowers, but awful for savers. As our population ages and more of us are on fixed incomes, a bump in returns would be welcome. However, don’t forget that $1.2 trillion bag of stimulus goodies that must be repaid. Rising rates would make the payback more costly.

All in all, my wish is for more of the same.

A more diverse industry. Commercial real estate brokerage has historically been dominated by men. However, two fall conferences we attended, evidenced change.

I was thrilled to see over 40% women and minorities at the Commercial Real Estate Influencers Summit and Society of Industrial and Office Realtors Global event.

My wish is for the face of commercial real estate to reflect our world.

Allen C. Buchanan, SIOR, is a principal with Lee & Associates Commercial Real Estate Services in Orange. He can be reached at or 714.564.7104.

More Resources



own shows