U.S. Commercial Property Deals May Rise 20%, Roberts Says

U.S. commercial property deals may rise 20 percent this year as the technology and energy sectors lead a “slow, plodding recovery,” said Peter C. Roberts, chief executive officer for the Americas at Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. (JLL)

Sales of apartments, offices, malls and warehouses may reach $216 billion, up from $180 billion last year and $115 billion in 2010, Roberts said in an interview in San Francisco. Nationwide, rents are “poised for growth,” with regions such as San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Houston and Dallas adding jobs at five times the U.S. rate, he said.

“There were broad-based leasing gains last year, and not just in Washington and New York,” Roberts said.

Banks increased lending for property deals in the fourth quarter for the first time in almost two years, according to Chandan Economics. Investors in search of core assets in big cities are “modestly” departing from a risk-averse strategy, Deutsche Bank AG’s RREEF said in a March 20 note. Real estate investment trusts and private-equity firms will be among the most active buyers in 2012, with life-insurance companies continuing to be a primary source of debt, Roberts said.

“REITs will be a big player across all sectors,” Roberts said, speaking after an event for Jones Lang LaSalle brokers and clients.

The office-leasing surge in San Francisco and Silicon Valley indicates that there’s “no bubble at all,” as startups create new products and Internet firms deepen video offerings and online commerce, Ron Conway, a financier who founded SV Angel, said at the event. Office occupancies in the Valley rose by 2.7 million square feet (251,000 square meters) last year, the most since 2000, according to broker Cassidy Turley in San Jose, California.

To contact the reporter on this story: Dan Levy in San Francisco at dlevy13@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Daniel Taub at dtaub@bloomberg.net

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