Trending up at ULI Forum

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From David Slye
Executive Managing Director
Jones Lang LaSalle

As I sat listening to Emerging Trends in Real Estate Report author Jonathan Miller talk about a slow, grinding real estate recovery and a continued “era of less” at the recent ULI Boston Forum, I was hoping for an “aspirin for my real estate headache” from the panelists that were about to take the stage. And I believe that’s what we got.

Boston remains one of the top five US investment markets due to our 24/7 character, diversified economy, and global pathway. The investment market is finally heating up again as sell expectations and buy interest should align again in 2012 for the first time since 2007.

Panelist Jonathan Davis of The Davis Companies, coming off their recent success buying CMBS debt, is cautiously upbeat and looking to capitalize on rising values. MIT Investment Management Company’s Steve Marsh remains bullish on the region’s continued job growth, and is cautiously investing with a watchful eye on a return of market volatility. Pam Herbst of AEW continues to look to place her client’s core and value add investment dollars targeted in major markets, but is also thinking outside the box in 2012 with investments in agriculture. Avalon Bay Communities is focusing their firm’s dollars on the residential markets of sister cities Boston and San Francisco, with Bill McLaughlin still bullish on Boston’s upside in multi-family.

Keynote speaker Boston Foundation President and CEO Paul Grogan said that there is nothing permanent about the success of the American city. He called for the fixing of public education and pointed to Boston’s charter schools as a system to emulate.

We’re lucky to have strong life science, healthcare, education and technology sectors, and international connections. Jonathan Davis classified companies as transforming, transformed, or dying on the vine. Boston is well positioned because we have a wealth of innovative companies in the first two categories.

 – David

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