Despite these bumps, limited volatility remained the norm in the fourth quarter, with the benchmark volatility index (VIX) averaging only 17.0. This optimism was evident in the equity markets at-large. All three major stock indices reacted with record highs into the beginning weeks of 2017.
As expected, the FOMC raised rates for the second time in over a decade, and the market is already anticipating at least three rate hikes in 2017. Rising interest rates, shifts in liquidity and concerns over current pricing levels have applied pressure on real estate markets. This is most evident in segments of the hotels, office and multifamily sectors—each of which have exhibited signs of plateauing or softening cap rates. The hotels sector is leading this trend, with U.S. hotel cap rates softening nearly 50 basis points in 2016. With nearly $49.0 billion of foreign acquisitions in 2016, the United States continues to be a beneficiary of offshore capital, with Asian capital accounting for 34.7 percent of full-year foreign U.S. acquisitions. European groups simultaneously increased participation from 25.8 to 29.1 percent year-over-year—a trend driven by German capital, and Middle Eastern groups from 11.6 to 14.9 percent. While three-fourths of this capital remains focused on the primary markets, there is more evidence of diversification into secondary markets.
Stabilized and increasingly optimistic investor sentiment is expected to sustain current investment sale levels in 2017. Following three record years of single asset sales, increased portfolio and platform transactions will be a key factor for gains in 2017 and into 2018. However, uncertainty will result in continued selectivity, spurring an increasingly difficult challenge of balancing submarket and asset risk with pressures for yield and scale. Demographically and economically strong markets with rising mid-term outlooks are expected to outperform. This will include leading secondary markets, which are experiencing record levels of investment.
For more detail on the above and other investment trends, read the full Investment Outlook or see the below snapshots of investment activity by asset type.
The resurgence of interest in large-scale portfolios will continue in 2017, as industrial market fundamentals continue to attract investor confidence.
2017 is anticipated to be the year of the domestic hotel buyer in the U.S. Global transaction volumes are expected to remain on par with 2016’s normalized levels, and M&A activity will continue among brands and operators.
The multifamily investment landscape reaches another year of record-setting volumes in overall deal flow and secondary markets.
Net lease cap rates soften modestly in fourth quarter, influenced by macroeconomic factors and the varying capital requirements of buyers and sellers.
Although leasing velocity and occupancy growth will decelerate, experts expect office to see incremental gains throughout 2017 and into 2018.
Although a limited number of active investors are evaluating mall transactions, well-located shopping centers in secondary markets remain staple investments both domestically and internationally.
Group Head, Americas Capital Markets and Investor Services
Director, Investor Research