To hear “the nation is clearly out of the Great Recession of 2008/2009” made the BIA/OC Development Conference on March 26th a welcomed glimmer of positive news.
Professor Kerry Vandell, the Director of UCI’s Center for Real Estate confidently shared this positive along with: the stabilization of US employment; rising consumer confidence; and increases in retail sales. And then like most recent economic presentations, we heard about: the high deficit; wealth & income erosion; constrained credit; and the worries of: inflation, stagnation and massive federal government intervention. Vandell followed this with how especially dysfunctional California is. But don’t worry – we “have the most diverse, creative, entrepreneurial, climate-friendly, beautiful environment anywhere.” Actually – I always find that comforting.
Some interesting notes on land…Emile Haddad’s Five Point team has quite a bit. Mike Maples of Trumark reported a pipeline of 900+ lots in CA and came off as someone you’d want to have a drink with. Jason Perrin of Greencrossing approximates Summer 2009 as the bottom of the SoCal land market. (Basically, it seems that if you are still waiting for the land “deal of the century”, the train left the station without you last year.) That said, Perrin definitely feels there are significant opportunities ahead – an easy statement for a $60M land bank fund.
So do I feel optimistic for 2010? Cautiously yes. Afterall, the Great Recession is over and employment is finally stabilizing.