Many commercial real estate brokers are seeing a glass half-full

With Dallas' commercial real estate market doing better than it has in years, you don't have to be a J.R. Ewing-esque oil tycoon to make money in the city.

All over the country, and in much of the the world, commercial real estate companies, professionals and analysts are seeing the industry's future in a positive light. Markets that were hit hard by the recession, like South Florida and North Texas, are making comebacks. And global investment in commercial real estate in the second quarter of 2013 was up 16 percent from the first. Those factors are combining to provide a rosy outlook for the industry going forward.

South Florida on the rise again
While vacancy rates and prices per square-foot are holding steady in much of South Florida, commercial real estate brokers in places like Palm Beach County and Broward County are finding that tenants are no longer moving out at the rate they had been in the past five years, and the concessions they had been forced to make in order to lure new tenants and keep existing ones are no longer as necessary as they had been during that time either.

"We're certainly not at the peak, but I'm pretty positive," said Andy Petry, a vice president of Liberty Property Trust, which owns 1.4 million square feet of offices from Boca Raton to Miramar. "Instead of downsizing, more tenants are staying in [existing] space, and we're seeing a decent amount of expansions."

Adding to that growing optimism, several properties that had been held off the market during the economic downturn have recently found themselves back on local commercial real estate lists, including almost a dozen upscale office buildings in Broward and Palm Beach.

Status of Dallas Market
The Dallas commercial real estate market has seen its fair share of ups and downs in the years since the recession set in, but it is starting to see a turnaround both in terms of data and new blood among the professional ranks. An influx of young professionals into the industry indicates that even people who might have been disenchanted by the economic downturn see the Dallas market as a potential growth area.

Local commercial real estate professional Jim Loe has an upbeat take on the current situation in the area, writing in an article for D Magazine, "Job growth is steady in Texas. Commercial mortgage-backed securities are at their highest level since 2006. The Small Business Administration loaned $595 million in Dallas-Fort Worth during the first nine months of the fiscal year - up 37 percent for the region. Development is seen across most sectors, and office space absorption is on track for a fantastic year. North Texas continues to be viewed as a magnet by corporations."

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