It's a question that I hear all of the time, and there are all sorts of answers and variations of answers that I give. A lot of it depends on how the last phone call went, or how the week has been. Overall, the economy sucks, we all know that…on the other hand, we are very fortunate here in Richmond, Virginia, to be in a rather muted version of the poor economy that is hitting everyone.
The real answer is: sure, it's tough, but when is it ever easy in the land of commercial real estate — and especially in business brokerage? All that we can do is make things happen in our sphere of influence, and keep both eyes open for great matches to be made between buyers/sellers and lessees/lessors.
There is a lot of talk in the commercial real estate community of either the owners not being reasonable about the current market conditions, or the prospective tenants/buyers looking for "too good" of a deal. A more accurate depiction of current market situation was outlined out very well in an article in this morning's Richmond Times-Dispatch's Metro Business section by Andrew Little (with John B. Levy & Co. here in RVA):
Buyers, like lenders, are nervous and
skittish and not able to get a feel for what the long run looks like.
Sales brokers across the country report large institutional sellers
making strategic decisions to prune their portfolios or exit a market
at fire-sale prices, only to find their lowered price expectations are
In Richmond, long-term owners are wading into the market in hopes of
shedding a piece of their portfolio at a price that only a year ago
would have seemed unimaginably low. While it will be up to the buyers
to determine if the sale prices are reasonable, getting buyers off the
fence is difficult today. It seems as if all buyers are waiting for
some longer-term sign to emerge that could help them make an investment
It's not exactly a solution to our ills, but at least it might help anyone that wants to know "How is the market doing?"