High Desert Real Estate Experts Speak at Symposium

The first annual High Desert Real Estate Symposium was held on March 6 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Victorville. Presented by Coldwell Banker Commercial, this was a one-of-a-kind regional conference. About 150 people attended the event, including investors, principles, managers and site selectors, along with the High Desert’s top business leaders and city government officials.
Moderated by CBC President and broker Jason Lamoreaux, the symposium featured an overview of both national and local commercial real estate. The symposium’s keynote speaker, Fred Schmidt, COO of Coldwell Banker Commercial Worldwide, began by reviewing current national commercial real estate trends, including employment, investment preferences, and retail markets. The good news is that there has been a continued gradual decrease in vacancy and positive absorption, with new construction activity remaining low.
Schmidt’s presentation was followed by a panel of speakers, who gave an overview on logistics, manufacturing and industrial activity in the Victor Valley. The speakers were: Brian Parno, COO of Stirling Development; Scott Kubicek, General Manager of Apple Valley Walmart Distribution Center; Keith Metzler, Victorville’s Assistant City Manager; and Robert Machuca, LA County Metropolitan Transportation Agency.
They discussed how the Victor Valley’s central positioning makes it a strategic, beneficial and cost saving area for both logistics and manufacturing businesses.
Economics of the Victor Valley were discussed during the regional update portion, with a panel consisting of Jim Hart, City Manager of Adelanto; Frank Robinson, Town Manager of Apple Valley; Curt Mitchell, City Manager of Barstow; Mike Podegracz, City Manager of Hesperia; and Doug Robertson, City Manager of Victorville. The town and city managers discussed an overview of regional infrastructure projects, business development strategies and alternative ways their respective cities have spurred new growth.
The symposium continued with a report on the state of commercial real estate in the High Desert. This portion was presented by Colwell Banker Commercial President and broker Jason Lamoreaux, along with two of the company’s associates, Mehdi Mostaedi and Bob Basen. They presented an optimistic “Silver Lining,” overview of the market from prior years to current trends and forecasts, accompanied by extensive market research graphs.
According to the 2013 4th Quarter High Desert Market Watch, the High Desert experienced a 32 percent rise in housing values during 2013. Nationally, economists are predicting housing values will increase 15 percent in 2014. Lamoreaux stated, “I moved to the High Desert in 1979 when the population was less than 150,000. The population is now approaching 450,000 and the numbers will indicate that we are in a steady recovery.” Lamoreaux was cautious to predict that values will surpass the highs of 2006 for residential properties and the highs of 2007 for commercial values, but stated that historical data supports a return of values in excess of the prior economic boom of the early 2000’s.
Land specialist Mehdi Mostaedi discussed the land market and said, “December 2013 showed a 100 percent increase in the number of vacant properties sold, as compared to December of 2012. This is due, in part, to the fact that more businesses have recognized that the Victor Valley has abundant land available to accommodate their warehousing and distribution needs.
Multi-family specialist Bob Basen discussed the healthy growth in the High Desert’s multi-family market. According to Basen, even when compared only to sales of Class B and C apartments between 2012 and 2013, total sales for 2013 Class B and C multi-family complexes actually increased by 46 percent, growing from $19 million to $27.5 million.
The 2014 High Desert Real Estate Symposium set out to inform and educate all attendees, and according to Rick Danzey, Marketing Manager for Choice Medical Group, they succeeded in doing just that. “This event provided excellent insight into the commercial real estate market. The industry panels offered clear visions of today and tomorrow’s market and the town and city managers provided good perspectives.” Danzey raved, “The statistics were eye opening and the information presented, valuable. I plan on attending year after year.”
Lamoreaux stated, “Coldwell Banker Commercial prides itself on conducting in-depth market research and industry analysis to provide our clients with the tools they need to make a smart informed decisions.”
The symposium was successful in creating a platform to share real estate information, plus present the hot topics happening in local cities and at the area’s major businesses.
Coldwell Banker Commercial has been named the top ranked commercial real estate firm by the Victor Valley Multiple Listing Service for four years in a row, in addition to being continually acknowledged as a “Power Broker” firm by Costar.
For more information on growth in this area, watch this video about the High Desert Corridor.


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