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Workplace trends to expect in 2011

With the new year nearly here, we wanted to look at business and workplace trends we can expect to see in 2011. Here are a couple of trends [/caption]

More mobile. With mobile already big this year, itbs likely to grow even stronger next year. For your business, mobile Web design may become more important than desktop Web design. Sites will need to be simpler and clearer for viewing on a phone.

Cloud computing. Companies will be doing more online, especially when collaborating with other businesses. This could also affect expansion of online workers, another trend expected to continue.

What do you expect to continue or change in the workplace in 2011? Do you think itbll be much different from 2010? Leave a comment to share your predictions.

Image: breakingnewsonline.net

Office property sales increase

Office property sales are showing signs of improvement, increasing 122 percent in the third quarter as compared to the same time last year, according to this National Real Estate Investor article that cites a new Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) report.

South Florida seems to be in line with this trend, as the South Florida Business Journal recently reported that the area has seen a number of commercial real estate sales over the last few months, including in the office sector.

Reporting on the U.S. as a whole, NREI says,

bThe pace of commercial mortgage originations, including multifamily, picked up during the third quarter. Third quarter 2010 originations were 32% higher than during the same period in 2009, and 15% higher than during the second quarter of 2010.b

As with most commercial real estate reports these days, MBAbs assessment warns that these third quarter sales remain well below sales from before the economic downturn.

To continue following our updates about national and South Florida commercial real estate, like Morris Southeast Group on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @KenMorrisBroker.

Image: Mark Freerks for South Florida Business Journal

Volume of distressed CRE plateaus

Numbers from Delta Associates and Real Capital Analytics indicate the volume of distressed commercial real estate properties has been at a standstill around $186.9 billion for a number of months, according to this GlobeSt.com article.

On one hand, this plateau is positive since the volume of distressed properties isnbt getting significantly higher. But looking toward the future, Delta Associates expects the volume of distressed properties wonbt start to go down until 2012.

As GlobeSt.com reports,

bTo that end, Delta notes that the distress plateau began in the spring, but it doesnbt foresee any meaningful progress until 2012, as lenders continue to extend debt obligations, and commercial property values are stabilizing in many markets.b

Do you see the plateau as good or bad news for the commercial real estate industry? Leave a comment to share your thoughts.

Image: citta-vita via Flickr

Investors interested in riskier opportunities

In tune with National Real Estate Investorbs predictions from this post we shared earlier this month, PricewaterhouseCoopers expects investors will start looking into slightly riskier investments than the well-leased buildings theybve sought this year, according to REIT.com.

The PwC Real Estate Investor Survey revealed investors are beginning to look at properties in secondary markets in addition to looking beyond trophy properties.

Especially as demand for top assets continues to drive prices up, riskier opportunities with a smaller price tag are beginning to look more appealing. But Susan Smith, director with PwCbs real estate advisory practice, told REIT.com,

bAlthough some investors are now looking to take on more risk, a full movement to secondary markets and riskier plays won’t occur until a healthier U.S. employment picture develops. To investors, job creation is the missing element needed to foster a full recovery, restore confidence, and, in turn, widen the tolerance for risk.b

You can learn more here, and then share your projections. Do you think investors will look increasingly to riskier deals in hopes of higher long-term yields?

Image found here

Apple quietly appeals to business world

Despite the companybs previous consumer-only focus, Apple is now quietly appealing to Corporate America as well.

Essentially, bSteve Jobs is trying to make it easier for corporate customers to buy their employees iPhones, iPads, and Macs,b according to this Bloomberg Businessweek article. One analyst with investment bank Gleacher & Co. predicts Applebs business sales could increase by nearly $4 billion next year.

The company currently has five briefing rooms for discussions with corporate customers, but Apple also just applied for a trademark on the phrase bBriefing Room,b indicating it may want to include more throughout its stores.

Given the popularity of iPhones and iPads, Apple can appeal to corporate Information Technology buyers.

What do you think about Apple reaching out to the business world? Is your company considering more Apple products for employees? Leave a comment to share your thoughts.

Image: Yutaka Tsutano on Flickr

Downtowns recovering faster than suburbs

Although indicators are pointing toward a slow recovery in the office market, this seems to be affecting primarily the downtown areas, while suburbs are losing tenants, according to WSJ reports that boffice buildings in many city downtowns have stopped losing tenants or are filling up again even as the office space in the surrounding suburbs continues to empty.b

This is an interesting trend given that in 2003 and 2004—another post-recession recovery time for the commercial real estate industry—office buildings in the suburbs recovered faster than their downtown counterparts. Suburbs appealed to businesses as they offered lower rents and a shorter commute for many workers, but now companies are seeing a trend that younger workers may prefer more vibrant downtown areas.

To follow all of our updates about commercial real estate trends and the changing workplace, find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @KenMorrisBroker.

Image: Bloomberg News via WSJ

Expect improvement in office market?

Many investors have steered clear of risky acquisitions this year, opting for completely leased office buildings. Though investors likely will continue seeking low-risk properties, office sales should increase in 2011, according to this National Real Estate Investor article.

Commercial real estate professionals still expect a slow recovery, as the office market has remained pretty stable over the last three quarters. According to NREI, herebs what we can expect for the coming year:

bSeveral factors will help spur higher sales next year. Returns on quality office properties remain favorable compared to alternative investments such as bonds and T-bills. Rising prices over the past six months will help encourage more owners to sell, which will help to alleviate the shortage of properties on the market. In addition, the financing climate continues to improve with more readily available, low-cost debt.b

What do you expect for the office market in 2011? Leave a comment with your predictions.

November employment shows little growth

Despite much higher predictions, nonfarm payroll employment grew by less than 40,000 in November, according to the According to an article from National Real Estate Investor,

bThe economy needs to grow at a pace faster than 2.4% to 2.5% for hiring patterns to begin bringing the unemployment rate down, emphasizes [head of research at REIS Victor] Calanog. bWe haven’t seen that kind of pace of growth anytime this year, and the latest comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke imply that 2011 might not be that much different. Unbuckle your seatbelts. Itbs going to be a pretty slow ride.bb

What do you think these latest employment statistics mean for the commercial real estate industry? Do you expect hiring to increase any time soon? Leave a comment to share your thoughts.

Image credit: National Real Estate Investor

iPhone Apps You Should Arm Yourself With at Work

With all of the technological advances in the workplace nowadays, itbs best to be on top of your game and arm yourself with tools that can aid you in getting ahead, especially when youbre competing with your fellow coworkers! And believe it or not, you can use your iPhone to help you get ahead at your job. Check out these iPhone apps, courtesy of Mashable, that you’ll want to download to use at work.

b”B B B AT&T Virtual Receptionist b You can download this app for free, and some of the services it offers are free as well. This app offers you a toll-free number, a company greeting, an auto-attendant, and business voicemail. It also has faxing capabilities.

b”B B B Flight Update Pro + Live Status + TripIt b The cost of this app is $9.99, but itbs well worth it, if your job requires you to travel a lot. This app serves to update you on flight delays, arrivals, and departures. You can also track flights and find out gate and terminal info with this app.

b”B B B Fuze Meeting b This app allows you to host online meetings and web conferences via your iPhone. It offers conference calling, video sharing, instant messaging, and desktop/screen sharing. And best of all, this app is free!

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Going Green in Your Workplace

So maybe youbve already gone green at home. Youbve started recycling, youbve replaced your old light bulbs with energy-efficient ones, and youbre conserving the water you use. But now youbre wondering how you can go green in all aspects of your life, like at your job, for instance. Check out these great tips, courtesy of planetgreen.com, on how to go green in the workplace.

b”B B B When conserving the energy you use at work, start with your computer. Make sure you shut down your computer before you leave at the end of the day, and set your computer to energy-saving settings. You can also unplug computer accessories that arenbt used very often, like scanners and printers.

b”B B B Make everything digital; this will conserve your use of paper products. Instead of keeping files in a filing cabinet, keep them on your computer. Send e-mails instead of paper letters. Donbt print out documents to review; read them on your computer screen.

b”B B B Make an effort to have a bgreenerb commute to work. Try carpooling with one of your friends to work. Take the bus, ride your bike, or walk. If these alternative forms of transportation wonbt work for you, consider buying a hybrid car, a motorcycle, an electric car, or some other eco-friendly vehicle.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

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