Friday, September 23, 2011

Markets Down Sharply, CRE Stats Up But For How Long? And Good News About Shopping Centers and Medical Tenants

Markets are off sharply this morning, with more than 700 points lost on the Down Jones average in the past two days, and European and Asian markets down significantly over fears of a default by Greece, general uncertainty, actions by the Federal Reserve that will push interest rates lower, and a statement by the Fed chair two days ago that we are likely entering another recession.

I'm not sure we ever left the first one.

Some good news. Medical groups are renting retail space in strip malls. Seems to be a trend in different parts of the U.S. According to Globe Street news, in Tampa the Florida Orthopaedic Institute has leased a former Borders bookstore. It will be converted to a clinic skedded to open in January, and will feature x-ray, MRI, clinical offices and facilities for physical and occupationsl therapy.

Retailers that would have shunned medical office in their centers -- even excluded them via mandates -- are welcoming the approach because shopping plaza restaurants and other retailers benefit from the the foot traffic coming to and from healthcare providers. Its all part of a trend of vacant office and retail sites working to reposition themselves as ideal homes for medical/dental space and related businesses.

Interestingly, healthcare has been one of the steadiest of commercial real estate sectors. No matter how badly someone is getting along financially, they still get sick and need to visit their own personal physicials or , worst case, visit emergency rooms. This healthcare sector, still, has been slowed by the economy.

And what is causing the slowdown? Hospital reports are the key: elective procedures have been down during the worst times of the recession. Plus, physkicians are less confident of their long-term status considering the implementation of the controversial healthcare iniatives coming out of the White House, and some worry whether they will continue to be employed by hospitals in the next six months to one year.

Still, acquisition and disposition of medical office buildings seems to be trending back up a bit. A

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