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What is CompStak One and how does it empower CRE analysis?

CompStak One is a suite of data products that unifies CRE insights. CompStak One combines its vast database of Lease Comps, Sale Comps, Property Information, Loan Data, and Analytics into a singular, comprehensive platform.

In the following blog, CompStak will illustrate how you can use this powerful combination to identify potential opportunities or areas of risk in the office sector based on understanding:

  • The level of upcoming lease expirations in the rest of 2023 through 2025;
  • Properties with maturing debt in the rest of 2023 through 2025; and 
  • Properties purchased at the previous peak of the market.

U.S. GATEWAY OFFICE MARKETS FACE MASSIVE LEASE EXPIRATIONS FROM END OF 2023 TO 2025

There is a formidable amount of lease expirations in the office market upcoming through the remainder of 2023 through the end of 2025 across the major U.S. gateway markets, according to CompStak’s data. Based on today’s leased square footage across major gateway office markets, 2024 and 2025 are peak years for expirations. This raises concerns within the office sector, which has yet to find stability in the wake of the hybrid work trend triggered by the onset of COVID-19 and has been facing additional challenges due to worries about a recession and the effects of increasing interest rates.

Notably, the majority (87.5%) of these lease expirations coming before the end of 2025 were executed before the pandemic. Overall, 2019 and 2018 are peak years for when these leases were executed, accounting for 13.9% and 13.5%, respectively, of these leases expiring. This situation could be cause for alarm because 2019 marked the most recent peak year for the office market, and it is likely that a significant portion of these leases were signed at the market’s zenith. Landlords are currently facing the challenge of expiring leases from tenants that may have a higher propensity to downsize, vacate the premises, or request greater concessions or a reduction in rent in their upcoming leases compared to their current agreements. In addition, many of these office properties were also last traded (sold/purchased) at this most recent peak in 2019. In addition, a noteworthy number of office loans are set to mature between the remainder of 2023 and 2025, aligning with this peak period of lease expirations. How can all these data points be used to better understand the office market and potential opportunities or risks? CompStak has all three of the datasets that can assist in answering this question. Let’s zero in on one office market, New York City, to further explore.

2024 AND 2025 ARE ALSO PEAK YEARS FOR LEASE EXPIRATIONS IN NEW YORK CITY’S OFFICE MARKET

New York City’s office market is top of mind for those interested in tracking the recovery (or “the new normal” state) of a gateway office market in the wake of COVID-19. New York City’s lease expirations mirror the trend in gateway office markets overall: 2024 and 2025 are peak years for expirations in New York City’s office market, and more than 19% of active leased office space today is set to roll over this period. In contrast to the gateway markets as a whole, New York City boasts longer average lease terms compared to many other markets. Consequently, the peak execution years for the expiring leases in this upcoming period are 2014 and 2015. However, 2019 was also a significant year, accounting for more than 7.6% of these expiring leases by square footage. 

2019 DEALS WOULD SEE NEARLY 8% LOWER RATES TODAY, ACCORDING TO COMPSTAK’S NEW YORK CITY RENT INDEX

2019 holds significance not only due to its share of lease expirations but also because CompStak’s rent index reveals the extent of the market’s decline since that time. According to CompStak’s Market Rent Index, leases signed in 2019 would have a 7.9% lower lease rate if they were executed today. The rents would have been lower today for any deals completed from the end of 2017 through mid-2020. However, if leases signed in the fourth quarter of 2014 were executed today, the lease rate would be 13.6% higher. But if these 2014 deals had been signed at the top of the market in mid-2019, the lease rate would have been 23.4% higher than in 2014.

SPOTTING OPPORTUNITIES AND RISKS: ANALYZING LEASE EXPIRATIONS, LOAN MATURITIES, AND SALES DATA

Using CompStak’s combined datasets, we can now identify office buildings with high levels of lease expirations from October 2023 through December 2025 as potential buildings with upcoming future risk. Furthermore, we can refine our focus to include buildings that might also have loans coming due in the same timeframe, leveraging the newly incorporated Trepp data within CompStak’s platform. Additionally, we can identify buildings acquired during the latest pinnacle of the office market in 2018 and 2019. Properties with substantial lease expirations as well as maturing loans may have a higher risk of distress than other properties, and CompStak’s data can help you analyze those. A significant number of expiring office loans were initiated during periods of higher rents and occupancy. If net operating incomes have since declined, these maturing loans might now be confronted with considerably higher loan-to-value ratios compared to their initial origination, when loan rates were set. In conjunction with the current reality of interest rates reaching 20-year highs, numerous properties may be at a heightened risk of being underwater, with owners potentially struggling to meet their debt obligations.

In New York City, CompStak’s data yielded a dataset for all office buildings of 100,000 square feet or more. Within this dataset, approximately 37% of these buildings have at least 30% of their presently occupied square footage under active leases scheduled to expire between the remainder of 2023 and 2025. With these higher-risk properties identified, we narrowed our targeted properties to those that had either loans maturing by the end of 2025 or that were last traded in 2018 or 2019. Among the properties in this dataset, there was just one that fulfilled the following conditions: It had 30% or more of its leased square footage expiring by the end of 2025, has a floating-rate loan maturing during this same period, and was last traded in 2019.

UNDERSTANDING PROPERTY-LEVEL RISK USING COMPSTAK LEASE COMP DATA

Using the selected target property, CompStak data can assist you in gaining insights into the property’s fundamentals and its competitive position in the market. When this property was last sold in 2019, its occupancy was noted as 100% in CompStak’s sale data. However, according to the maturing loan set to expire by 2025, its most recently submitted occupancy rate has fallen to 92.5%, according to Trepp’s data now available within CompStak’s platform. With at least 30% of its current square footage set to expire over the next two years, this property could be at risk of declining NOI (Net Operating Income), which would increase its LTV from its current 80% level.

Using CompStak’s lease transaction data, we can also evaluate how current rents in place at the property stack up against the rest of the market’s current rents and where starting rents have trended in this market as well as for other Class B office properties. The current rent at the target property is 11.7% below the average rent for Class B buildings in the surrounding market. Moreover, rents for tenants with leases expiring from 2023 through 2025 have an even wider gap, standing at 14% below the current market average. In addition, the current rent in place is also more than 20% below the starting rents for Class B transactions closed in the surrounding market over the last 12 months. These statistics imply that the property currently has rental rates below the market average. This situation presents an opportunity for either the current owner or a prospective one to attract new tenants or secure lease renewals at higher rates. However, it’s important to note that the reduced demand for Class B office space could pose a significant challenge in achieving this goal.

Another aspect worth examining is the tenant composition by industry currently active within the Downtown Manhattan target property. Presently, over 50% of the lease roll is composed of tenants from the TAMI sector (technology, advertising, media, and information), with most of the remaining space occupied by nonprofits and public institutions. Although the current rents may be below market rates, this tenant mix presents potential challenges in terms of renewing leases at higher rates and the risk of downsizing or vacating. The TAMI sector, and in particular, the technology industry,  on a national scale, is reducing its space requirements and has embraced higher levels of remote work compared to some other industries. Additionally, renewing leases with nonprofits at elevated rental rates might prove challenging, as they typically prioritize cost-consciousness, and the overall market remains firmly in favor of tenants. The potential for increased revenue may hinge more on the ability to attract new tenants rather than retaining existing ones.

What else could CompStak One do?

CompStak One is a robust tool that harnesses the collective analytical potential offered by loan, sales, and lease data. Other potential questions utilizing CompStak One:

  • What industries lease most of the space expiring soon in maturing office loans in 2024 and 2025 in New York City’s office market?
  • Of the floating-rate loans maturing in 2024 and 2025 in Class B properties, how does the average lease term in place compare to broader market trends?
  • For loans maturing in 2024 and 2025, how does the occupancy rate at time of sale or loan origination compare to today?

Want more on this analysis? Unlock real market value with CompStak One. Contact us today to get started!

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