Survey: Trump ‘most favorable’ candidate for real estate

New Hampshire Republicans like The Donald for president, and so too do many of the real estate moguls’ peers, according to a recent survey.


SIMI VALLEY, CA – SEPTEMBER 16: Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump (L) and Jeb Bush argue during the presidential debates at the Reagan Library on September 16, 2015 in Simi Valley, California. Trump was rated “most favorable” to the industry by commercial real estate executives in a recent survey, followed by Bush. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

According to a survey released Wednesday by law firm Seyfarth Shaw, one-third of respondents said Donald Trump would be the “most favorable” presidential contender for the industry.

His lead was, in a word, yuuuge.

The nearest competitors to the Republican firebrand and former reality television star were former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush at 13 percent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at 12 percent and Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio at 11 percent.

“Notably, the recent surge in support for liberal Democrat Bernie Sanders is not shared by commercial real estate executives who ranked Sanders near the bottom of all candidates,” the survey said, putting the Vermont senator’s support among CRE execs at 3 percent.

Still, Sanders did beat Republican contenders and free market advocates Dr. Ben Carson and U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky. Paul recently suspended his campaign.

The 2016 Real Estate Market Sentiment Survey went much broader than presidential politics, looking at rising interest rates and other economic factors that might stimulate or hold back the commercial property market. The results reflect the feelings in January of 139 owners, investors, developers, brokers, lenders and others in the commercial real estate industry.

Among other issues on real estate executives’ minds, 90 percent expect the Federal Reserve to again raise interest rates, with 71 percent expecting two or more rate hikes this year.

The Fed has said it will go slow on interest rates after its move in December to raise rates by a quarter of a point – the first increase since 2006. Given global market turmoil – the oil price slump, slowing growth in China and the roiling Chinese stock market – it’s likely the Fed won’t be quick to move on rates.

A plurality of CRE pros (43 percent) said the commercial real estate market could handle a 51 to 100 basis point hike in rates in 2016, with about a quarter saying the real estate industry could handle up to 150 basis points.

Not surprisingly, after an era of cheap money, executives said rising interest rates were the top concern for 2016, followed by supply and demand issues and banking regulations.

Speaking of banking, some 87 percent showed some level of concern about maturities of commercial mortgage-backed securities coming due in 2016 and the ability to refinance those loans. About $111 billion in these loans are expected to mature this year, and loan workout troubles from last financial crisis resulted in many projects going back to their lenders.

Among “emerging concerns,” executives cited the “gig economy” – sharing apps, Uber, part-time work across multiple jobs or temp jobs – as the trend with the greatest potential for disruption in the marketplace.

Finally, 70 percent of real estate pros surveyed said they were not concerned about acts of terrorism on U.S. soil affecting their projects this year.

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