Page 5 of 6

On a Roll, U.S. Office Market Demand Expected to Stay Strong Through 2016

Tenants and Investors Show Strong Preference for Newer Buildings in CBDs
January 28, 2015

With vacancies falling and rents rising in growing numbers of submarkets and slices within the U.S. office sector, demand for office space is expected to remain at post-recession highs for the next two years, according to CoStar Portfolio Strategy analysts recapping the office market’s past year performance.

“2014 was a great year for the office market,” said Walter Page, director of office research, during CoStar’s State of The U.S. Office Market 2014 Review and Forecast. “The keystone mark is that net absorption was up 42% from a year earlier. The fourth quarter in particular was very strong, with over 30 million square feet of net absorption.”

Net absorption of office space rose from 64 million square feet in 2013 to 91 million square feet last year, a 42% increase. Also, the amount of office space absorbed for the year was nearly double the level of new office space added to the market.

Over the next two years, CoStar expects annual absorption to be very similar to 2014, in the 90 million square foot range. The level of construction deliveries should ramp up, as rents have increased across the board and vacancy numbers have continued to tighten, helping make the case for new development.

The strong demand suggests that occupiers have gradually slowed the trend of shrinking square foot-per-employee office footprints, and the shadow supply of empty office space left over from the Great Recession is diminishing as growth moves forward at a very strong clip, added Page, who was joined in the presentation by U.S. Market Research Manager Aaron Jodka and Managing Director Hans Nordby.

The national office vacancy fell 70 basis points from 12% to 11.3% in 2014, the largest decline in office vacancy since the end of the recession.

Vacancies are declining across the board across markets, submarkets and building types and quality levels, with the exception of medical office properties, where vacancies are holding steady at a historically solid 9.6%.

Many markets are now falling below the national vacancy average, with nearly every metro showing year over year declines, with the exception of Washington, D.C., which saw a slight increase, mainly because of strong construction activity.

As demand shifted into high gear during 2014, the percentage of office submarkets with declining vacancies rose to its highest point of the recovery, Jodka said.

“It’s not just a few energy or tech markets or CBDs, this is a feel-good story across the country,” added Nordby.

The vacancy recovery has been particularly strong among newer properties seeing the highest demand by tenants, said Jodka. While buildings 2008 and newer have seen vacancies plunge from a high of 45% in 2008 to nearly 10% in the fourth quarter of 2014, older generation space from the 1980s, much of it located in less desirable outer-ring suburban submarkets, hasn’t recovered at all.

“That’s not where tenants want to be,” Nordby said. “Oftentimes, they want to be in the CBD or the very closest-in suburban submarkets.”

Markets where demand for new properties is especially strong include Minneapolis, Orange County, CA; Nashville, Dallas/Fort Worth and the East Bay area of San Francisco. New product is logging higher vacancy rates in markets where demand still isn’t quite matching the rate of new construction or are still dealing with an overhang from the last cycle, such as Miami, San Jose, Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and Portland.

Building upon that flight-to-quality thesis is the rising demand for newer 4 and 5 Star space, which is seeing double the rate of absorption of less quality space, Page said. Demand for high-quality space grew 2% from 2013 to 2014, versus 0.9% for 1, 2 and 3-star space.

“Another interesting thing is that at this point in the market cycle is that this flight to quality continues to grow,” Page said. “At this point in the previous cycle, it was not as strong. As tenant footprints shrink, it’s a lot easier to tell them, we’re going to put you in nice space rather than not-nice space.”

Another emerging trend is after seeing most of the action in suburban markets over the last few quarters, activity in CBDs is starting to pick up significant demand and grabbing its fair share of the market, Page said.

Overall demand strength has given owners the confidence to raise rental rates. Rent growth, which closed 2013 up 3.3% year over year, performed even better last year, logging 3.7% growth, nearly double the rate of inflation.

Construction continues to stay in check in most metros. Deliveries of new space rose 9% from 43 million square feet in 2013 to 47 million sf in 2014, very balanced at around half the rate of net absorption. The under-construction pipeline of 81 million square feet a year ago increased a whopping 32% in 2014 to 107 million square feet, 18 million square feet of the activity in Houston.

Don’t do any long-distance moving into a home that isn’t clean and tidy

January 27, 2015

Don

If you’re about to trek across state lines or even from one coast to another for a major relocation, you’ll want to minimize as much aggravation as you can. This means you need to avoid any work possible on moving day, since you and your state-to-state movers will be pretty busy unpacking and organizing. Don’t move into a messy house – make sure things are pristine when you get there.

The best way to ensure that your new digs are clean is to do it yourself. Unfortunately, this isn’t usually possible when long-distance moving is involved. If you can’t easily get to the new place, consider hiring a local cleaning company to give things a once over before you arrive with your boxes and furniture. Search online or contact your real estate agent to be certain there’s a reliable company involved with the clean up.

You can also remove the responsibility of cleaning from yourself by putting the cleanliness in writing. For instance, one of the closing stipulations can be that the old owner needs to clean (or hire cleaners) to get the house in tip-top shape before you set foot in it. Make sure to include language guaranteeing a penalty for non-compliance or else you and your movers might be kicking dust bunnies and trash out of the way to make room for your possessions.

Youngsoft Welcomes Amy S. Courter as SVP, Sales & Marketing

Jan 9, 2015 | Wixom, Michigan

About Youngsoft
Based in Wixom, Michigan, Youngsoft is a full-service IT technology and consulting firm that specializes in IT staffing, application develpoment, and niche software practices to improve the effciency, cost-effectiveness, and capabilites of its clients.  Youngsoft has extensive experience in many different industry verticals, and has offices in North America and India.  To learn more about Youngsoft, visit our website at www.youngsoft.com 

Stevens International Achieves FAIM 3.0 Certification

December 28images, 2014

(Columbia City, Ind.)— As a premier moving and storage company known around the world, Stevens is constantly improving customer service by growing the company’s knowledge base and expertise in all facets of the industry. In particular, the International division is one part of the Stevens moving experience that sets the company apart, due to its decades of experience and wealth of resources. In a continued effort to improve international moves for customers, Stevens Worldwide Van Lines is pleased to announce that its division designated for overseas moves, Stevens International, has recently been granted FAIM 3.0 certification from FIDI.

FAIM 3.0 is the most current version of the quality assurance standards implemented by FIDI, and it consists of a thorough and rigorous vetting process. All applicants for this certification must have at least 2 years of prior experience in handling international moves, must have completed a minimum of at least 10 overseas moves in any given year and must have sufficient insurance coverage. Each applicant must assess their entire moving process, including equipment used, performance of employees and customer service (handling claims, response time to customer’s needs, etc). Once the applicant has completed these steps, a FAIM auditor will visit the applicant’s facilities to verify that the applicant meets all standards and guidelines.

FIDI reports that less than 30% of all applicants are successful in passing their FAIM 3.0 audit, and Stevens is proud to say that Stevens International achieved certification on the first attempt. Moving with a FIDI Affiliate insures impeccable service and adherence to the most stringent of industry standards, which is what every customer needs when planning an overseas move.

Stevens International is a division of Stevens Worldwide Van Lines, a full-service moving and storage company based in Saginaw, Michigan, which specializes in local, out-of-state, commercial and international moves. Stevens International is ISO 9001 certified and has contact with more than 700 agents around the world, enabling the Stevens team to provide each customer with a combination of valuable knowledge and resources that will make any international move smooth and stress-free.

Keep backups on hand when you do any long distance moving

October 31, 2014

Keep backups on hand when you do any long distance moving

When you need long distance moving and storage services, you’ll probably divide your possessions into two groups. The first, which includes some clothes, household items and pieces of furniture, are those things that wouldn’t devastate you if they were lost or damaged. After all, quite a bit of what people use is relatively expendable.

In contrast, many people have prized possessions they could never find replacements for. Family photo albums, for example, are one-of-a-kind and their losses can be extremely tragic. The same is true for home videos, and this idea also applies to important items such as financial documents, government forms and medical records.

Consequently, it’s a good idea to make a digital backup of those materials well before the relocation and moving services come to box up your possessions and cart them across the country. Invest in a scanner and external hard drive or get in touch with conversion specialists. Moving company employees are professionals and won’t be to blame for your losses, but random acts of God can quickly wipe out your family records and keepsakes at the drop of a hat. Don’t take the risk these items will last forever – convert them to digital when you transfer your life from one home to another.

Global Sustainability Conference

October 31, 2014

Pictured are (from left) Brian Eggers, Lindsay Stevens-Eggers,
and Morrie Stevens Sr.

Stevens Worldwide Van Lines sponsored the Global Sustainability Conference at Saginaw Valley State University (SVSU). The event is a result of a partnership between SVSU’s College of Business and Management and the University of Delhi’s renowned business school. Held from September 23-26, 2014, the opening reception took place at the Marshall M. Frederick Sculpture Museum located on the campus. As in the past, Stevens has been responsible for transporting the artwork from the home of the museum’s namesake, the late sculptor Marshall Fredericks, to the museum.

The conference included presentations and addresses from scholars and business professionals from Michigan-based companies and global powerhouses alike. Morrie Stevens Sr., Stevens Worldwide Van Lines Chairman and CEO, was a panelist during the week’s events.

The discussions in global business sustainability covered various sectors including agribusiness, the automotive industry, entrepreneurship, energy, and