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Local commercial real estate market a little healthier

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Last year wasn’t a great one for the Indianapolis-area commercial real estate market, but it wasn’t a particularly bad one, either, according to a report by Cassidy Turley to be released Thursday.

The multifamily and industrial markets were the best performers in 2011, while office and retail remained mostly stagnant, the city’s largest commercial real estate brokerage says in its annual “State of Real Estate” report.

“Although the challenges of the past year hampered growth, Indiana’s commercial property markets proved to be remarkably resilient as every segment of commercial real estate demonstrated strengthening fundamentals,” Jeff Henry, regional managing principal, said in the report.

At least 30 sales of area apartment complexes took place in 2011, led by deals for the 772-unit Coppertree complex in Speedway and the 753-unit Cottage of Fall Creek on the north side of Indianapolis. Central Indiana saw multifamily housing starts rise 56 percent from 2010 due to demand from renters shunning the homebuying market.

“Nationally and in central Indiana, multifamily has continued to be the highly sought after 'safe haven' for commercial real estate investors,” the report said.

The Indianapolis-area industrial real estate market saw its overall vacancy rate drop from 6.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010 to 4.7 percent by the end of 2011. More than 6 million square feet of Indianapolis industrial property traded hands in 2011, nearly twice the volume of the previous year.

Multi-tenant office vacancies grew slightly overall, from 20.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010 to 20.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011.

The downtown office vacancy rate climbed from 17.1 percent to 18.9 percent and dropped from 22 percent to 21.2 percent in the suburbs. Average rental rates slipped slightly.

“Improvement was the greatest in the Keystone, Northwest and Fishers submarkets, which helped the suburban market dramatically outperform the central business district as it relates to multi-tenant office real estate,” the report said.

Vacancy rates in the retail segment crept up in 2011, from 7.1 percent to 7.5 percent, with slight improvement seen in neighborhood centers and traditional shopping malls.

The real estate investment market started 2011 fairly strong, led by multifamily, but slipped noticeably by the end of the year.

The report said investment is expected to improve in 2012 due to low interest rates, available financing and an increased need for recapitalization.
 

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