Mueller Market Monitor

Real Estate Market Cycle Monitor

The Physical Market Cycle Analysis of 5 Property Types in 54 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs)

Market Cycle Quadrants

The cycle monitor analyzes occupancy movements in four property types in 54 MSAs. Market cycle analysis should enhance investment-decision capabilities for investors and operators. The five property type cycle charts summarize almost 300 individual models that analyze occupancy levels and rental growth rates to provide the foundation for long-term investment success. Commercial real estate markets are cyclical due to the lagged relationship between demand and supply for physical space. The long-term occupancy average is different for each market and each property type. Long-term occupancy average is a key factor in determining rental growth rates — a key factor that affects commercial real estate income and thus returns.

Rental growth rates can be characterized in different parts of the market cycle, as shown below.

Market Cycle Quadrants

Supply and demand interaction is important to understand. Starting in Recovery Phase I at the bottom of a cycle (see chart below),the marketplace is in a state of oversupply from either previous new construction or negative demand growth. At this bottom point, occupancy is at its trough. Typically, the market bottom occurs when the excess construction from the previous cycle stops. As the cycle bottom is passed, demand growth begins to slowly absorb the existing oversupply and supply growth is nonexistent or very low. As excess space is absorbed, vacancy rates fall, allowing rental rates in the market to stabilize and even begin to increase. As this recovery phase continues, positive expectations about the market allow landlords to increase rents at a slow pace (typically at or below inflation). Eventually, each local market reaches its long-term occupancy average, whereby rental growth is equal to inflation.

In Expansion Phase II, demand growth continues at increasing levels, creating a need for additional space. As vacancy rates fall below the long-term occupancy average, signaling that supply is tightening in the marketplace, rents begin to rise rapidly until they reach a cost-feasible level that allows new construction to commence. In this period of tight supply, rapid rental growth can be experienced, which some observers call “rent spikes.” (Some developers may also begin speculative construction in anticipation of cost-feasible rents if they are able to obtain financing). Once cost-feasible rents are achieved in the marketplace, demand growth is still ahead of supply growth — a lag in providing new space due to the time to construct. Long expansionary periods are possible and many historical real estate cycles show that the overall up-cycle is a slow, long-term uphill climb. As long as demand growth rates are higher than supply growth rates, vacancy rates should continue to fall. The cycle peak point is where demand and supply are growing at the same rate or equilibrium. Before equilibrium, demand grows faster than supply; after equilibrium, supply grows faster than demand.

Hypersupply Phase III of the real estate cycle commences after the peak / equilibrium point #11 — where demand growth equals supply growth. Most real estate participants do not recognize this peak / equilibrium’s passing, as occupancy rates are at their highest and well above long-term averages, a strong and tight market. During Phase III, supply growth is higher than demand growth (hypersupply), causing vacancy rates to rise back toward the long-term occupancy average. While there is no painful oversupply during this period, new supply completions compete for tenants in the marketplace. As more space is delivered to the market, rental growth slows. Eventually, market participants realize that the market has turned down and commitments to new construction should slow or stop. If new supply grows faster than demand once the long-term occupancy average is passed, the market falls into Phase IV.

Recession Phase IV begins as the market moves past the long-term occupancy average with high supply growth and low or negative demand growth. The extent of the market down-cycle is determined by the difference (excess) between the market supply growth and demand growth. Massive oversupply, coupled with negative demand growth (that started when the market passed through long-term occupancy average in 1984), sent most U.S. office markets into the largest down-cycle ever experienced. During Phase IV, landlords realize that they could quickly lose market share if their rental rates are not competitive. As a result, they then lower rents to capture tenants, even if only to cover their buildings’ fixed expenses. Market liquidity is also low or nonexistent in this phase, as the bid–ask spread in property prices is too wide. The cycle eventually reaches bottom as new construction and completions cease, or as demand growth turns up and begins to grow at rates higher than that of new supply added to the marketplace. website. Alternatively, when you select a text box