PHOENIX-Building owners with long-term tenants are finding it easier to sell their properties as investors eager to move out of a sluggish stock market look for higher yields in real estate.

“Buildings that have good tenants are going fast and at low cap rates,” Patrick Feeney, with CB Richard Ellis Inc.’s Phoenix office, tells “It’s hard to buy property right now because good leased property is really being sought after.”

A long-term lease has become key to a quick sale, Feeney said, since it offers a buyer the added assurance of being able to make those mortgage payments even if the economy sours. Buildings with vacancies or short-term leases, however, are languishing on the market for six or more months as buyers hesitate over deals that could mean leasing headaches for them in the future.

Feeney said the soft economy has forced many businesses to delay relocation and expansion plans, leaving vacancy rates in the Valley at a high of 10.2% with some submarket vacancies as high as 17%. Net absorption also has slowed with only 2.5 million sf of industrial property absorbed through the first six months of the year. Just two years ago, the Valley’s annual absorption rate fell between 9 million sf and 10 million sf, Feeney said.

But it isn’t only the economy that’s placing a strain on the Valley’s industrial property buyers. Bob Deininger with Johnson & Associates in Scottsdale points out to that businesses are increasingly opting to lease a building with the option to buy it in the future, leaving few leased buildings available to investors. “A lot of people want control over their building and their occupancy costs,” Deininger said. “On a lease purchase, they can lock in a price today and know what they can purchase it at in the future.