As real estate professionals, the BDR team is often asked these two questions: How are things going in our market and what are you seeing? Here’s what we have to say in response to these popular questions:
BDR has experienced unseasonable demand during what is traditionally the slowest time of year in commercial real estate. Although demand has increased in all sectors, the industrial sector is leading the charge in 2017. There are so many factors that affect a market. Most of these factors are outside of our regional control. Each sector under the commercial real estate umbrella is different and driven by varying economic forces which can also be directly affected by macroeconomic factors stemming from federal policy and regulation.
Many believed Trump’s surprising presidential election would result in pro-business policies. Time will tell on that one. Many also thought Trump’s election would result in pro-energy policies. In less than two weeks in office, we are already seeing this bear some truth. Within his first week of office, President Trump signed an executive order to encourage federal review folks to pass Trans Canada’s resubmittal of the Keystone Pipeline project in the Dakotas. According to Marcellus Drilling News, “On January 19, 2017, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission voted to approve and issue a certificate to Columbia Pipeline’s Leach Xpress and Rayne Xpress pipeline projects. This is fantastic news for the Marcellus/Utica region.” While traveling in Morgantown, have you looked over at the acres upon acres of green pipe being stored in Morgantown Industrial Park? We are not getting the world’s longest water slide, but we will begin to hear about progress relating to Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a 600-mile interstate natural gas transmission line. The project will begin in 2017 and stretch from Harrison County, WV to Chesapeake County, VA and Robeson County, NC.
What does all of this mean for the region? Commodity pricing has been suppressed due to an oversupply of natural gas in the market. Two factors will increase demand: Pipelines and cracker plants. We have already touched on pipelines. There are currently three cracker plants being consider in the region. One is moving forward in Monaca, PA with two additional cracker plants still in the planning stages. Cracker plants effectively isolate the molecular components (think chemistry class) in natural gas which are then used in other manufacturing processes such as the development of various plastics. Due to high usage needs and the expense of transportation, many believe manufacturing will follow and locate within close proximity of the cracker plants. This results in more jobs for the region and will undoubtedly have a trickle-down economics effect on various sectors. When looking to open a location, many energy companies have a need for industrial space.
How can you tell demand has increased in the industrial sector? Black Diamond Realty records and tracks every lead that comes into our office via phone and internet. Since Election Day (November 8, 2016), there have been 27 unique leads that have come into our office. This number is in line with the number of industrial leads we typically see in an entire year. Things are looking bright for the industrial sector. Act now before pricing increases.