Experts predict uncertainty ahead for CRE market

Commercial real estate values around the country have more than doubled since the nadir of the 2008 and 2009 financial crisis. However, prices have begun to level off, and a growing number of experts are predicting that the market will soon become far more volatile. They say that demand will likely fall as economic growth in Missouri and other states begins to slow down, and they warn that the consequences of this falling demand will be felt in 2017 and 2018 when dozens of large construction projects are scheduled to be completed.

They have also warned about the impact that the growth of online shopping and e-commerce will have on the retail sector. Analysts expect about 800 department stores in the United States to close to close in the coming years, which would leave about 20 percent of the anchor space in American shopping malls vacant. Store sales have largely remained flat for several years, but online sales are surging. E-commerce has grown from a mere 1 percent of retail sales in 2000 to about 8 percent in the first quarter of 2016.

However, when one door closes in the commercial property market, it invariably leads to new opportunities for savvy investors and developers. While online stores do not require luxurious showrooms or acres of customer parking, they do have other real estate needs. Experts are predicting that new warehouse and satellite distribution facility construction may pick up much of the market slack caused by declining mall occupancy rates.

Experienced real estate attorneys will likely have witnessed many market adjustments, and they may be able to help their clients to avoid common pitfalls by taking a proactive approach. As retail occupancy rates decline, real estate owners and developers may seek new ways to produce income from vacant stores and shopping malls. Attorneys could help them in these endeavors by assessing the zoning and land use regulations in place and recommending a course of action designed to avoid regulatory setbacks and problems.

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Our condo association was faced with monumental construction issues thanks to the original developer of our complex. We were cash poor and in no position to get legal representation without a contingency fee arrangement. Luckily for us, Scott Long and Burke Robinson were willing to take us on as clients. Their work ethic, professionalism and knowledge of condominium construction served our association very well. Any association would be well served in hiring these gentlemen to represent them.

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