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Commercial Real Estate & Business News – January 22, 2014

Outlook Improves for Construction — If Firms Can Find Skilled Workers

This year is shaping up to be a good year for the construction industry — if contractors can find enough qualified workers. A survey of more than 800 construction firms by the Associated General Contractors of America found that 41 percent plan to add workers this year, compared with only 2 percent that plan layoffs. The rest either plan no change in staffing or don’t know yet… Read more

Castle Hot Springs to be Auctioned

The historic Castle Hot Springs resort, north of metro Phoenix, is going on the auction block. The opening bid is $500,000. Opened in 1896, the 210-acre resort near Lake Pleasant once attracted prominent U.S. families including the Roosevelts, Vanderbilts, Carnegies, Wrigleys and the Astors. Long before he became president, John F. Kennedy spent time recovering at Castle Hot Springs from injuries he sustained in World War II… Read more

Buy and Rent Investors get Squeezed

The auction prices of homes climbed faster than rents in 2013, so returns on investment dropped, according to a report from CoreLogic. That’s a change from the past several years. In many cities where mortgage defaults spiked after the housing crash, investors were able to buy foreclosed homes at prices so low they were able to make big rental profits… Read more

Office Market Remains Stuck in a Rut

The national vacancy rate for office properties remained unchanged during the fourth quarter at 16.9 percent. Given how slowly the office sector’s recovery has progressed, this is not necessarily reason for worry. Since the third quarter of 2007 the national vacancy rate hasn’t declined by more than 10 basis points in any given quarter. For all of 2013, the vacancy rate fell by just 20 basis points, roughly comparable to the 30 basis point decline in 2012… Read more

Loans Available Even in Weak Apartment Markets

It’s becoming possible to find loans for troubled apartment properties even in weaker markets. “It’s a lot easier to finance almost any kind of asset than it was two or three years ago,” says Mitchell Kiffe, senior managing director and co-head of national production for the debt & equity finance group at CBRE Capital Markets… Read more