NEW YORK CITY-Cushman & Wakefield has released a collaborative effort report created with the Appraisal Institute that puts the latest development craze in commercial real estate on the record. At the same time, announcements made by Lend Lease about their plans for billions in acquisitions capture the frenzy in the marketplace. All the fuss is over multifamily housing. Apartments and condos are the latest gold rush, fueled by the tight market and ever-booming population.

The investor survey, Real Estate Outlook, by C&W notes that development is up across the board in commercial real estate, but that apartments continue to lead the charge because of historically low vacancies. The survey questioned developers, insurance companies, investment advisors and REITs around the country, studying the industry market by market and property type by property type. It reveals that the REIT market rebound has enabled the earmarking of funds raised to go to development.

Accompanying the survey’s release were official statements from C&W executives involved in the project. “Despite recent Interest rate increases, strong real estate demand and rent growth has stimulated construction activity,” says Bruce Kellogg, MAI, managing director of C&W’s valuation advisory services and editor of the survey. “The requirements for greater tenant commitments prior to obtaining financing from lenders tend to minimize the risks associated with new development. These factors will limit any rampant development and acquisition schemes that could potentially create an imbalance of supply and demand in various markets.”

At the same time, Lend Lease Real Estate Investments Inc. is aggressively pursuing multifamily properties. It is currently in the midst of almost $1.4 billion in new investments and is planning another $1 billion. Of the $1.4 billion in play, $911 million of it is for core acquisitions, $215 million is in value-added investments and $252 million is in development. The company is also seeking joint venture development opportunities to piggyback with the 39 properties, comprising 12,300 units, now completed or under contract.

Lend Lease, as a financial services company, is making these investments on behalf of its institutional and private clients. The company is acquiring properties across the board in existing, new, speculative, garden, high-rise, urban, suburban and turnarounds of 1970s and 1980s complexes. These new acquisitions follow the company’s almost $1.4 billion in multifamily acquisitions completed or under contract since January 1999. It completed $10.7 billion in transactions for the year ending June 30, 2000.

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