Sept 10, 2013
Wow, this year is flying by, it’s already mid-September and the bad news is I have not provided a land report since early May. The good news is I have not provided a land report since early May!!! We have been so busy; there has simply not been time. Please allow this to be our 2nd and 3rd quarter report. In our 1st quarter report we were hoping commercial activity would catch up with residential activity, well…it has.
As a company, Wicker & Associates currently has almost 25 deals under contract and in the title company. Best of all the activity is coming from all “food groups”. In other words, we have a few industrial tracts under contract, a few office sites, multi-family sites, single family tracts, and even three hotel tracts under contract. The hotel market has simply been dead for many years!!! The only “food groups” in the land arena that are not seeing much activity are large power center or mall type retail properties and peripheral investment tracts. Almost every property that we have under contract is for immediate use. Very little speculation activity, almost all properties are interior locations with construction planned by a speculative developer or an end user. This is tremendously exciting. We have waited for at least 5 years to see this kind of activity. We are simply hoping that Washington and international politics remain stable and allow us to work.
Just 18 months or so ago residential lots were selling for $1,000-$1200 for front foot and this was considered high. Now there are conversations, contracts, and closings $1600-$2,000 per front foot. Home prices are definitely going up but the low interest rates keep payments at an affordable rate. We will see many thousands of lots coming on the market over the next 12-18 months.
Multi-family, as reported in the first quarters report may have peaked. Supply and demand has taken over. There are simply not as many well located multi-family tracts available for development. Well located garden apartment zoned tracts are almost non-existent. Thus the number of land transactions for multi-family development has been reduced. However, we are seeing a few “AAA” locations going for much higher numbers than we thought possible just 12 months ago. We do expect multi-family developments to continue at a strong steady pace. Developers are simply going to have to buy land on a subject to zoning basis.
The office segment of the market has probably seen the biggest uptick in the 2nd and 3rd quarter of any of the individual “food groups”. There are several projects under design or under construction in or around the Tollway and SH 121; also the DFW Freeport area has many projects under design or construction. Spec developers and users are extremely active.
Industrial land has also been very active. In and around the DFW airport is the most sought after area with little or no supply of land. Otherwise Great Southwest submarket and the I-20 corridor are attracting the new built to suits and speculative projects. Industrial land prices remain fairly stable in “A” locations at approximately $2.50-$3.00 per square foot.
As mentioned before, retail sites and “not ready for development” tracts are the slowest segments of the market. With new residential subdivisions coming on line, neighborhood service retail developments are sure to follow. This includes corner convenience stores, pharmacies and small strip centers. We still feel major power centers are many months away.
Investors seem to be in an adjustment period. There is no shortage of money on the sidelines looking for investment opportunities. However; what the investors are willing to pay differs greatly from current asking prices. We have two basic schools of thought, the investors want to buy at a discount and the peripheral land owners want to sell at a user price. Thus, creating a pricing gap with very few transactions. We expect some give and take on both sides over the next year or two and transactions will become more frequent.
We continue to work hard on all our listings and as we close these transactions our time will free up, allowing us to focus on new listings. Please keep us in mind for other opportunities. We are available to consult at your convenience. Feel free to call for more details regarding your specific property anytime.
-The Wicker Team-