Real Estate Symposium Offers Review of High Desert Market

The 2016 Real Estate Symposium, hosted by Coldwell Banker Commercial (CBC), kicked off with keynote speaker Fred Schmidt. As President and COO of CBC, he is a veteran commercial real estate professional with more than 30 years of experience in the industry. Schmidt gave an overview of the national marketplace, saying that consumer spending is up in the U.S. Other factors effecting the market include soverign debt, event risks (Russian invasion), political uncertainty including the U.S. presidential election and in the U.K. over whether it will remain in the European Union. Cheap gas prices are putting billions into consumers’ pockets, and causing a ripple effect in the commodities market. The millennial generation, numbering 76 million, is taking a greater role in the housing market, and over the next 20-25 years their preferences will dictate the direction for commercial office space, employment and consumerism. They prefer open social areas, and a smaller overall footprint. Baby Boomers still boast the highest spending income in the history of the world, Schmidt said, and have influence on the apartment sector as they downsize, and politics. About 2.7 million jobs were added last year, and growth should continue as long as interest rates stay low. Primary employment sectors continue to be in the education, medicine and technology sectors. Next to speak was economist Manfred Keil, an associate professor at Claremont McKenna College. He said the Inland Empire as a whole ranks 13th out of 383 statistical regions in the U.S. with 4.2 million people. He stated that while the number of jobs lost have been recovered since the recession, many have been replaced with lower paying jobs than than the ones lost. The job sectors that haven’t recoverd are in manufacturing and construction, and the new jobs are in low-pay service and retail. Home ownership was a big topic with Coldwell Banker Commercial Victorville Vice President Bob Basen, who said the rental market as increased as a result. More rental units are needed, and some of the older ones need rehabbing to attract the younger rental crowd. Unemployment figures are as follows: Adelanto – 9.7 percent, Hesperia – 8.1%, Victorville -6.4%, Apple Valley – 6.2T and Barstow unemployment is 5.9%. Coldwell Banker CEO Jason Lamoreaux brought up the issue of construction being done in the Cajon Pass as a major concern and the main reason that the High Desert real estate market hasn’t grown as it could. He mentioned that when home buyers, business owners and developers decide to come up to the desert on a Friday afternoon after work, and end up in a 3-hour traffic, they turn around and go back. They may not realize that is not a normal commute time, and give up on the idea of purchasing here. Once the project is finished, he believes things will pick up rapidly. According to SANBAG president Ryan McEachron, speaking on local infrastructure projects, the ribbon cutting for the Devore Interchange Project will be held on May 20. Apple Valley Town Manager Frank Robinson said the town’s future is bright, and the completion of the Yucca Loma Bridge which is projected to open mid-2017. This will pave the way for some great commercial and retail projects, including the Fountain retail center at Yucca Loma and Apple Valley road. The town will also break ground on a 1.3 million-square-foot distribution center that bringing with it 400 to 500 long-term jobs. Newly hired Hesperia City Manager Nils Bensten, said that 85 single family resident permits were issued last year, a 35-percent increase over 2014. The Tapestry Project will build 16,169 housing units and about 700,000 square feet of commercial and retail buildings. Phase I could break ground by 2018. The widening of Ranchero Road is key to the finalization of traffic flow to the Ranchero freeway interchange on the I-15. Barstow City Manager Curt Mitchell said capital projects in his city include the replacement of the First Avenue Bridges over the BNSF railroad tracks and the Mojave River. Retail projects coming to Barstow include the Montara Place Shopping Center, Shops at Spanish Trail and Oggi’s Pizza and Brewing Company. Victorville City Manager Doug Robertson said the city will widen the Bear Valley Road bridge over the BNSF railroad tracks in late 2016 or early 2017. Other infrastructure projects include the Mojave Riverwalk, which will offer 44 miles of bike lanes along the Mojave River from D Street to the Victor Valley College area. He says that Victorville will “hopefully” find a way to fund construction for connecting Green Tree Boulevard to the Yucca Loma Bridge project. The city of Adelanto did not have a representative present, but Lamoreaux mentioned that industrial space is going at a very high rate due to an anomaly – the marijuana cultivation ordinance that the city council recently approved has apparently caused a gold rush of business to that area.   PHOTO: Dougal Egan of Southern California Logistic Airport speaks at symposium.

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