National Market Review

Atlanta

Commercial

Low rents and government tenants have kept buildings nearly full in the Northeast Expressway/South office market. While not a particularly high-profile market compared to Midtown or the Central Perimeter, the average occupancy in big developments in the area is more than 90 percent, compared with the low 80s found in most other pockets of the metro-area office marketplace, according to the Atlanta Business Journal.

Boston

Residential

Sales of single-family homes in Massachusetts fell for the third straight month in October. The 5.3 percent slump was the biggest year-to-year decline since a drop of 7.6 percent in May 2003, when concern over the war in Iraq still had consumers skittish about house hunting. The October median sales price for single-family homes jumped 12.4 percent from a year ago to $344,950, and condo sales remain strong.

Residential/Commercial

Low mortgage rates have continued to fuel residential construction in Massachusetts. Permits were up 10 percent from January through September compared to the same period in 2003, according to the Boston Globe.

Chicago

Residential/Commercial

Large apartment rental building sales were on pace to set a record this year, according to Appraisal Research Counselors. There were $379 million in sales through the third quarter, which would be second only to 2000 if no other deals closed, though there were several big properties currently on the market. Private investors and condo converters predominate among buyers, brokers say.

Las Vegas

Residential

The median cost of a new home in Las Vegas slipped to $272,930 in October from $279,000 in September, according to Home Builders Research, but prices still are up nearly 32 percent from a year earlier. Building permits dropped 45 percent in October compared to September, but are still up 40 percent compared to last year, according to the Las Vegas Review Journal.

Los Angelos

Residential

California’s foreclosure rate is expected to climb in 2005 after reaching the lowest level in more than a decade during the third quarter of 2004, according to DataQuick Information Systems. A total of 37,875 homeowners statewide were sent default notices between January and September, compared to 51,182 people who received them during the same period in 2003.

Commercial

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A historic Hollywood studio that was the former headquarters of Columbia Pictures has been sold for $110 million. The private equity firm GI Partners bought the 17-acre Sunset-Gower Studios from Pick-Vanoff Company. “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” and “I Dream of Jeannie” were filmed at the studio, which will remain in use.

Miami

Residential

Roughly 10 to 15 percent of the new condo stock in South Florida is being purchased by investors, causing concern for some about too much speculation in the region’s housing market, according to Realtor.org. Approximately 10,000 units are being converted.

Philadelphia

Commercial

Signs are pointing to a possible comeback in the suburban office market, according to Grubb & Ellis. Absorption in the third quarter was at levels not seen since the fourth quarter of 2002, with 162,805 square feet taken off the market. The overall vacancy rate still stands at a steep 22.4 percent, however, according to the Philadelphia Business Journal.

San Francisco

Commercial

Tishman Speyer has more than doubled its San Francisco footprint, using cash from its Dec. 1 public offering in Australia to snag stakes in two office buildings, at One Bush St. and 595 Market St. The company also paid $51 million to buy 300 Spear St. a parking lot which it plans to transform into one of the city’s largest residential developments. The residential project will have 650 luxury condos and is expected to break ground in April 2005.

Residential

The state Department of Real Estate, which licenses brokers and salespeople, said it received more than 10,000 complaints in the fiscal year ended June 30, up 29 percent from the previous year, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The increase could have to do with the increased numbers flocking to real estate as a profession in California. Since 2001, the number of licensed real estate agents climbed by 25 percent, to 393,750 as of this summer.

Seattle

Residential

The median sale price of a home in King County, where Seattle is located, surpassed $300,000 in November, marking the first time that residential prices have topped that level.

Washington, D.C.

Residential

The Washington, D.C.-Maryland-Virginia metropolitan area registered some of the fastest rates of home appreciation in the country during the third quarter, according to the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight. Housing costs in the District of Columbia surged 23.95 percent compared to the year before, giving it the No. 4 berth on the list of rapidly escalating residential markets. Maryland and Virginia also landed in the top 10, with respective year-over-year gains of 22.3 percent and 18.1 percent.