Uncertainty’s Silver Lining

Commercial Real Estate is often an act of reinvention; Get ideas flowing for your business at C5 Summit, Aug. 15-17.

“It's a whole new world in commercial.”

That’s what REALTOR® Carmen Bauman said recently about the exciting opportunities available in commercial real estate. Bauman, who works with investment clients for RM Friedland Commercial Real Estate Services in Westchester County, N.Y., attended last year’s C5 Summit, an NAR conference dedicated exclusively to the commercial industry. The summit motivated her to transition her business from primarily residential to 100% commercial.

“People are repurposing things. It’s up to the broker to identify opportunities,” Bauman told Commercial Connections recently. “This is the time to get in, [when] everything is on the brink of change.”

It is indeed an exciting time to be in commercial real estate. Although some sectors took a hit during the COVID-19 pandemic, commercial has proved very resilient. As I write this, I'm seeing sales up across multifamily, industrial, retail, and office. In the retail property market, net absorption helped push down the vacancy rate to 4.4% and prop up rent growth to 3.9%, according to NAR’s April 2022 Commercial Market Insights Report. Land sales were up 6% on average in 2021, the best performance since 2014, according to the latest Land Market Survey conducted by the National Association of REALTORS® and the REALTORS® Land Institute.

Bauman will be back at C5 Summit this summer, and I hope you’ll consider joining her there, Aug. 15–17 in New York City. It’s a great place to trade success stories and forge new partnerships. We collected valuable insights from first-year attendees in hallway conversations, focus groups, and conference surveys, and this year’s program reflects what we heard. For example, you’ll be able to choose your own C5 adventure by exploring a particular track of interest. In addition, you’ll find opportunities to interact with others from the broader commercial ecosystem—economic development officials, brokers, investors, REIT managers, developers, and associations—so you can start the conversations that ultimately expand your portfolio and stimulate growth.

Finally, you asked for a more interactive expo. At this year’s summit, you’ll be able to try technology solutions that promise to make your job more efficient, hear from speakers in different disciplines at the expo theater, and take advantage of dedicated meeting and networking space. If the high cost of New York City lodging is an impediment, you’ll be happy to know that NAR has secured hotel rates $100 to $120 below those for 2021. Learn more about C5 Summit and register at c5summit.realestate.

Your time is valuable. That’s why we started C5 Summit, bringing together the players in the commercial value chain so you can connect with all the right people, all in one place. I can’t wait to join you at this dynamic event.

COVID-19 was a big topic at last year's summit, but it’s hardly the only outside force affecting our industry. One of the most talked about and least understood is the growing fervor around cryptocurrency. Just as we proactively pivoted during the pandemic, we’ll need to get in front of the blockchain technology that allows cryptocurrency-based transactions. Blockchain promises to change not only how we pay for transactions but also how we store and share transaction records.

I’m excited to tell you that I’ve appointed a presidential advisory group on cryptocurrency—a member-driven group of issue experts who will explore in detail the expected impact on consumers and on our profession. The group will make recommendations to me later this year as to how we move forward.

And move forward we will, as we always do. There’s a great quote from chemist and Nobel laureate winner Ilya Prigogine that sums up our strength of spirit: “The future is uncertain. But this uncertainty is at the very heart of human creativity.” 

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