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Post-recession real estate development still strong in SC

Even though economic reports continue to forecast favorable conditions for sustained economic growth here in the United States in the post-Great Recession era, there are certain sectors that remain skeptical. This is understandable when you consider the extent of some of the losses sustained in construction and, of course, real estate.

Interestingly, business leaders gathered in Columbia earlier this week for the 2013 Central Carolina Commercial Real Estate Market Forecast, where a panel of local experts provided some valuable insight on the area's economic prospects concerning banking, construction and real estate development to name only a few.

Regarding the banking sector, experts indicated that while Columbia-area banks were "severely hurt" during the recent recession, they are now regularly extending loans for owner-occupied real estate (retail, office, hotels, family homes, etc.).

However, they also warned that these banks are still somewhat hesitant to fund residential real estate acquisition/development, but that this will likely start to change as economic conditions continue to improve and more competition emerges.

As to real estate development and property investment, the panel experts also reported relatively good news. For the former, panel experts indicated that Columbia had seen sustained growth in the amount of retail space opened, while for the latter, the once bottomed-out office and retail market was now starting to see marked improvement.

Nevertheless, the panel experts did note that construction costs are continuing to rise and that many retailers are actively reducing potential square footage due to the explosion in online shopping.

"Everybody is really trying to figure out how to get more out of less retail square footage,'' said the director of one local retail company.

It is worth noting that a research economist from the University of South Carolina informed the audience that the Palmetto State was indeed continuing to see sustained economic growth in 2013, but that the growth rate was not quite as high as the preceding two years.

Here's hoping that this sustained growth will continue to fuel improvements in the banking, construction and real estate development sectors throughout the state.

If you or your organization are contemplating the purchase of commercial real estate, you should strongly consider speaking with experienced legal professionals who can handle the full details of your transaction while protecting your interests and rights.

Source: The Greenville News, "S.C. business leaders cautiously optimistic," Roddie Burris, Oct. 15, 2013 

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