Commercial-property prices continue to appreciate in November

November continued a pattern of strength for U.S. commercial-property prices, with the Real Capital Analytics (RCA) national all-property index gaining 1% month over month and 8.7% year over year.

The annualized gain represents the strongest gain of any month in 2019 for the composite index that includes all major property types. Prices continue to increase despite a quiet end of the year in terms of deal activity, with cross-border investors slowing their purchase pipeline in the past third quarter.

“This combination suggests that owners and potential buyers are moving apart on price expectations, with those transactions that do close involving more motivated buyers,” senior analyst Wyatt Avery wrote on the RCA Insights blog.

Each of the all-property index’s component indices flexed some muscle during the month of November. The industrial sector, for example, which has logged robust returns all year, posted its largest increase thus far in 2019, gaining 13.6% from the same month in 2018 and 1.2% from October to November of this year.

In the apartment sector, November likewise had the largest growth of any month this year, as prices picked up 9.3% annually. Although the monthly gains for the apartment index are no longer matching the double-digit increases seen in 2018, price acceleration for these properties remains stout, with gains consistently surpassing those of the all-property index over the past two years.

Office-property prices also have seen a resurgence after declining midyear. Offices had a monthly increase of 1% and a yearly bump of 5.7% in November. Office prices in central business districts, in particular, stood out with a 6.7% year-over-year increase. And weaker prices for suburban office properties, which drove a dip across all property types this past summer, have rebounded and grew 4.6% annually this past November.

Even the much-maligned retail segment had good news last month. The retail sector, while still seeing the smallest annual price increase among all property types in November, gained 3.4% year over year. That’s a marked improvement over the steady 2% annual-growth figure it has generally hovered around since 2017.

Across all property types, prices in the six major metro areas tracked by RCA grew 7.4% year over year last month. And after posting a similar rate of return in second-quarter 2019, prices in non-major metros have since pulled ahead, gaining 8.8% annually in November.


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