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Tax cuts create optimism in commercial real estate world

The results of a biannual survey of commercial real estate executives in California have started the year on an optimistic note. Produced by a partnership of the UCLA Anderson Forecast and Allen Matkins, the Winter/Spring 2018 survey findings showed an uptick in optimism among investors and developers who six months earlier had believed that the state's CRE markets were peaking.

Survey respondents attributed their improved outlook to the changes in federal income taxes. They expect the new tax plan to improve returns on commercial property investments. Compared to six months earlier, responses from developers showed renewed interest in building offices throughout San Francisco, East Bay and Silicon Valley. Executives knowledgeable about San Diego, Orange County and Los Angeles foresee improvements in rental and vacancy rates.

As for industrial properties, survey respondents see the most potential in the Bay Area, where demand might outstrip supply in three years. They expect industrial real estate in Southern California to remain stable due to an increasing flow of imports from Asia.

Investors' opinions about multifamily real estate remained largely the same as six months ago. Retail properties represent their primary source of pessimism because of the pace of store closures and consumers shifting to online retail.

Although market trends and forecasts aid investors, unique characteristics define each commercial real estate transaction. A person involved in the development or sale of an office, warehouse or apartment building might want a legal review of the details. An attorney could oversee the development of contracts with developers or purchase agreements to protect a client from liabilities. The services of an attorney could also aid the process of due diligence. Legal counsel could investigate the zoning and environmental regulations that apply to the property, check for liens or evaluate the title records.

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