HOUSTON-Real Capital Analytics’  mid-year office report notes that, so far in 2013, nional office volume was $38.4 billion, a 22% increase from H1 12. Furthermore, Houston was the second-most active office investment market in the US during the first half of the year, clocking in $1.6 billion in transactions. Manhattan came in first, with $6.7 billion in sales volume.

Significant office transactions during the first half of the year included:

  • The 972,424-square-foot BG Group Place, from Hines/CalPERS to Invesco Realty Advisors for $480 million
  • The 1.4-million-square-foot 2800 Post Oak Boulevard from Hines REIT to Investco Real Estate for $410 million
  • The 542,000-square-foot 919 Milam, from Credit Suisse to M-M Properties for $113 million
  • The 1.2 million-square-foot Post Oak Central, from JP Morgan Chase to Cousins Properties for $233 million
  • The 1.2-million-square-foot 800 Bell from Exxon to Shorenstein Properties for $48 million.

RCA points out that Houston has emerged as a top market for institutional and cross-border investors, with Dallas and Austin also moving up in the rankings.

In her article entitled “Downtown Houston: The New Gateway Market?” CBRE Americas’ director, research and analytics Sara Rutledge points out that a combination of huge employment growth and ever-tightening office market conditions are attracting both domestic and foreign investors to the region. In comparing Houston’s CBD with other core downtowns of New York, Washington DC, Los Angeles and San Francisco, Rutledge has made a compelling case for calling Houston – especially Houston’s CBD – an emerging gateway market.

In making her analysis, Rutledge compares employment trends, office vacancies and office asking rents in these cities, with Houston showing an increase in employment, a decrease in vacancies and stable asking rates.