What does the rest of the year look like in commercial real estate? Coldwell Banker Commercial Affiliates President & COO Fred Schmidt answered five questions and gave his thoughts on the current business environment, commercial market, CBC happenings and more.
Provide us with your perspective on CRE activity for the first quarter.
I’m noticing a general increase in sales and investment activity. The commercial real estate (CRE) market is not out of the woods, but there is a feeling of optimism. Supply is gradually decreasing but varies by sector. Retail is consumer driven, industrial is manufacturing driven and multi-family has been the darling with the highest demand and lowest interest rates.
What do you see for remainder of 2012?
Niche plays will continue to be successful. Commercial real estate will follow economic trends such as a reflection on the ethnic buyer. Student housing and medical office buildings will remain attractive. Also, with baby boomers retiring, ex-urban areas are becoming more desirable.
What trends outside of CRE do you see making the biggest impact in today’s business?
The trend I feel that is making the biggest impact is the use of smart phones and tablet computers. Tablets will become a must for any business professional and makes moving to the speed of the client possible. These devices are revolutionizing buying habits and thus impact brick and mortar buildings. Also, they are impacting work place strategies, reducing the need for laptops and perhaps office space.
Winning Business is a key success pillar for CBC. What are some of the latest activities?
Vik Bangia and the Global Client Solutions (GCS) team have been working diligently to win accounts. Just recently, GCS worked with Brad Davis from Coldwell Banker Commercial Jim Stewart, Realtors in Waco, TX to win a national account with Miracle-Ear. Also, GCS worked with Jim Brunette from Coldwell Banker Commercial NRT in New Jersey to win the Aamco account. Both Brad and Jim were already working with these clients and were able to assist GCS in winning these accounts simply by asking the client the question of “Do you have any other commercial real estate needs?” We call this asking the question. Having the ability to tap into relationships that our 3,000 sales professionals have is going to be instrumental to all of our success. Miracle-Ear and Aamco are only just the starting point of the opportunities that are in front of us.
Can you tease us up for some exciting CBC initiatives that we should be looking forward to?
Absolutely. There are so many great things happening that it’s hard to focus on just one or two projects that CBC professionals will get excited over. However, the top two initiatives that I am most excited for are the Regional Meetings in 2012 and the mobile apps. The Regional Meetings are a great opportunity for professionals to network and share best practices. The best part is that there will be several throughout the year, making them convenient to attend. We have already held several regional meetings and noticed a greater attendance versus one global conference. The mobile apps will solidify CBC as a leader in technology within commercial real estate. The CBC app is proprietary and will feature the ability to search listings, which is something that no other commercial real estate company can claim without the assistance of an aggregator.