Despite uncertainty as to how President Trump and Senate Republicans will approach tax reform ideas and several controversial proposals, NAIOP’s annual study of “Economic Impacts of Commercial Real Estate,” published by the NAIOP Research Foundation, showed positive improvements made by the commercial real estate industry. Namely that commercial real estate generated significant economic growth to the U.S. economy. Development, construction and operations of office, industrial, warehouse and retail property types, at the state and national levels, supported 6.25 million American jobs and contributed $861 billion to U.S. GDP in 2016. With 410 million square feet of commercial space built in 2016, the industry continued to improve infrastructure and create places to work, shop and play.
Cushman & Wakefield’s report that assessed President Trump’s impact on nationwide commercial real estate in his first 100 days in office highlighted several positive points, including a 2.4% increase in commercial real estate values since the election, and a 10% rise in the S&P stock index. Although the first 100 days rendered some positives to the industry, there are still some key policy issues that could affect commercial real estate demand.
- Defense Spending —the rollback of the defense budget sequester and increases in defense and Homeland Security spending could benefit commercial real estate professionals in jurisdictions that have historically attracted these budget dollars.
- Trade Policy — Potential changes to U.S. trade policy is a hot topic, and trade-related movement of goods is an essential part of the industrial market. Trade policy uncertainty can slow companies’ site selection, leasing and investment decisions.
- Border Adjustment Tax — Trump’s proposed Border Adjustment Tax (BAT) is opposed by the retail industry, among others, because it would levy a 20% tax on all imports of goods and services into the U.S. This increase may influence commercial real estate occupiers’ decisions regarding expansion or relocation.
- The wall and immigration — Trump’s plan for a wall along the U.S. – Mexico border that has yet to move forward but might be funded through a destination-based “cash flow tax” applied to U.S. – Mexico trade could raise import prices and disrupt the flow of workers.
- Health Care Reform — Due to the uncertain status of health care reform, new medical office and health care property development and demand may slow and soften.