Thursday, 27 December 2012

Slow but steady the forecast for real estate

New apartment projects and rebounding area home sales were the highlights of the residential real estate sector in 2012, while industrial parks and spec buildings dominated the commercial real estate sector.

Through November, new and existing home sales were up 9 percent from the same period a year ago, according to the South Central Kansas Multiple Listing Service.

Residential rentals were on the upswing, leading the area’s biggest real estate sales company, J.P. Weigand & Sons, to create a property management division to capture the upturn in rental homes. Meanwhile, work continued on projects such as the Lux in downtown Wichita, converting the former KG&E headquarters at First and Market into apartments.

On the commercial side, nowhere was there more buzz than around industrial parks and speculative industrial buildings. In November the city of Bel Aire broke ground on the first phase of an 800-acre industrial park near 50th Street North and Webb. Developer David Shannon’s plans for a 90,000-square-foot speculative industrial warehouse building in the 2100 block of South West Street were unveiled last summer. And Dean DeWitt completed construction of a 20,000-square-foot speculative industrial/warehouse building at K-42 and West Street.

Coming up

In 2013, the area’s commercial real estate market is expected to be slow but steady, with no one sector — office, industrial or retail — expected to be a standout for growth, according to the Martens Cos. 2013 Commercial Real Estate Forecast.

On the residential side, however, area homebuilders are optimistic they will be busier than they were in 2012 constructing new houses, while new and existing home sales are expected to move higher.

According to the Center for Real Estate at Wichita State University’s 2013 Kansas Housing Markets Forecast, Wichita home sales are expected to increase 4.2 percent, while permits for new homes will rise 2 percent.

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