Beau Byrd, a partner at Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP, addressed a crowd for the monthly meeting of the Birmingham Commercial Real Estate Women regarding existing commercial real estate opportunities, despite challenges in the current economy.
With 2009 in the past, he said, the local industry is facing in the coming year unemployment higher than the national average, declining property values, loan maturities and lack of debt and credit. But from those challenges rise opportunities, which can include increased work in tenant representation, low costs in construction and more distressed real estate, though not as much as investors had anticipated.
And signs of life recently can be seen in the commercial mortgage-backed securities market, public and private debt funds and real estate investment trusts that have been deleveraging and accessing capital, he said.
Byrd pointed out to the commercial real estate group that financing options still include banks, life insurance companies, agencies, the Small Business Administration and special financing with numerous new market, historic and low income tax credits. But lending parameters have changed and underwriting standards are more strict compared to several years ago.
“Things are more optimistic than they were last year, but caution will be the word for 2010,” he said.