Like politics, all commercial real estate is local. The Brookings Institute has just published a study on the 100 largest MSA’s in the country, and it concludes that there actually are green shoots in commercial real estate, and many of them are to be found in over-looked, secondary markets in the middle of the country.
The report shows that in 38 of the top 100 metro areas, housing prices remained flat or actually increased over the past year, even as prices nationwide dropped. Most of these metro areas also experienced below-average employment declines, and they lie in some interesting areas somewhat off the beaten path (Pittsburgh, Rochester, Tulsa, Des Moines and Baton Rouge, among others).
All of the top metros also have below-average shares of single family foreclosures, which is not surprising. This is not also not an isolated finding, and I wrote about Zillow’s distinction between “hot” markets that were actually “not” in The Best Performing Apartment REIT for 2009.
In terms of extrapolating the findings to other markets that may have similar-recession proof characteristics, it shows that areas with heavy concentrations of education and healthcare-related jobs are performing well, and that cities with concentrations in finance jobs are not all the same. Oklahoma had two cities in ranked in the top 20: Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Other cities doing well include Little Rock, Harrisburg and Albuquerque:
“All metropolitan areas are feeling the effects of this recession, but the distress is not shared equally,” said Alan Berube, the program’s research director and report co-author. “While some areas of the country have experienced only a shallow downturn, and may be emerging from the recession already, people living in metro areas that are now performing the weakest economically should prepare themselves for a long recovery period.”