The New Orleans Metropolitan Association of REALTORS® (NOMAR) will once again host one of its major in-person events with the 12e Annual Economic and Real Estate Forecasting Symposium: Recognizing Risks in an Uncertain World, taking place October 13 at the Jefferson Performing Arts Center.
Speakers will include experts from real estate, finance, government and academia who will deliver a comprehensive mix of content. The in-person conference comes as New Orleans’ real estate sector begins to see signs of stabilization after more than two years of unprecedented disruption.
“The market has experienced an inflection point,” said NOMAR Chairman David Favret. “We were in a hyper-aggressive seller’s market where buyers were almost desperate to get a property. We have seen a change and now we are in a much healthier market. There is still huge demand, but there is more inventory available. Things are moving at an appropriate pace for all the parts that we haven’t seen in the past two years.
Favret said a key indicator of that shift is an increase in months of inventory in New Orleans residential real estate. Over the past two years, this number has sometimes been as low as one month’s worth of inventory, sometimes slightly higher. Today, there is about 2.9 months of inventory on the market, which Favret says indicates a healthy balance between the number of buyers and sellers.
While many residential buyers are locals looking for a home that better suits their needs, others have also entered the market. Bob Bergeron, owner of Crescent Title, LLC, said several people have moved to New Orleans now that their jobs allow them to work entirely remotely. Others are New Orleans natives returning home to be closer to family. With a more robust condo market than some other cities, Bergeron said some people also buy a New Orleans condo as a second home to be near family for extended periods of the year.
Regardless of the buyer’s situation, Bergeron said it’s always advisable to work with local industry members who are up-to-date on the market.
“A lot of people look at homes online to get an idea of what’s there, and an agent can help you identify properties that might be right for you,” Bergeron said. “They may know about properties that aren’t officially listed yet or guide you to an area you didn’t know about. Once you’ve found a real estate agent you can trust, they can help you find a good lender they’ve worked with before and can help you have a positive experience.
The residential market has stabilized, but the New Orleans commercial market is still on the move. Melissa Warren, CCIM, president of NOMAR’s commercial investment division, said retail is beginning to recover in New Orleans, while Jefferson and St. Tammany parishes remain strong and demand increases. . New Orleans’ tourism and hospitality industries have seen a boost with the return of major events and are certainly driving the post-pandemic economic recovery. However, Warren noted that office occupancy remains below pre-pandemic levels. This has prompted some to look for smaller office spaces or less expensive options.
Warren said the biggest changes in New Orleans are now in industrial real estate, a trend that is expected to continue at least through 2023. A new distribution facility in the West Bank and an Amazon fulfillment center in Slidell are on the way. preparation, which will give New Orleans is an advantage in the face of supply chain and delivery challenges. Additionally, progress continues on the Louisiana International Terminal at St. Bernard, a Port of New Orleans-led project that is expected to have significant impacts on industry and labor in the region. .
“No matter what industry you’re in, we see the cost of construction impacting rental rates every day,” Warren added. “Landlords are giving more leasehold improvement allowances and long-term agreements because tenants don’t want to pick up their costs.”
If an investor is looking to enter the commercial market, Warren urges them to think about which industries they would like to work with and which geographies they are most interested in. Investors should also have a diverse mix of tenants, she added. Meanwhile, tenants need to make sure they have their finances in order, especially after many have received new influxes of cash from government sources.
“We are definitely seeing people evaluating their investments and making sure everything is stable,” she said. “We’ve seen investors look at properties, but they move on because they have concerns about tenants and their credit. Everyone is now looking for that long-term stability.
The symposium will include presentations on the search for such stability, as well as the current state of the economy, long-term sustainability and the environment and upcoming projects that could transform New Orleans.
Others will address how industry leaders must adapt to a rapidly changing world. Guy Williams, president of Gulf Coast Bank, said one area that needs to be discussed is the impact of crime in New Orleans on business and quality of life. Williams said that while the current situation is concerning, he hopes there will be positive changes, especially with the formation of the NOLA Coalition, a diverse group of more than 350 organizations working to address the issues of crime in the city.
“It’s a confusing time right now and we have a problem to solve. If we don’t fix it, people who can move will,” Williams said. “However, this is a problem that we have already solved. It can happen and should happen. If you’re a seller who can afford to wait, this is an option you might want to consider. It’s a tough time, but we have so many people who love this city and want it to be the best. They are determined to do what they can to make this happen.
Williams said he hopes the Oct. 13 symposium gathering will serve as a catalyst to inspire even more people to do their part to help New Orleans thrive. The Gulf Coast Bank is the title sponsor of the symposium.
“I always enjoy networking and interacting with people. It’s completely different to be virtual,” he said. “The composition is magnificent. There will be lots of high-level information, but it will also be a fun opportunity to reconnect and make new friends.
The symposium is from 12 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. with a business networking reception following the presentations. All participants must have a ticket. To purchase tickets or for more information, visit www.nomar.org.