Jan 22, 2014, 2:21pm HST
Duane Shimogawa Reporter – Pacific Business News
The 2014 Hawaii Real Estate Forecast on Wednesday at the Hawaii Convention Center saw the return of the “wizard,” some amazing photos of a Japan ski trip and mostly positive predictions for this year’s industry outlook.
On hand were some of the biggest names in Hawaii’s real estate industry, including panelists from Jones Lang LaSalle, Colliers International Hawaii, Ambard & Co. Commercial Real Estate, Prudential Locations and Bishop Street Commercial.
Wendel Brooks III, who recently left CBRE Hawaii to head up rival Jones Lang LaSalle’s retail operation, kicked the event off with a retail forecast that looks mostly sunny with a possibility of rain in 2014.
“Plan on delays,” he said in his presentation. “Construction will cripple parts of Oahu [and] rents will continue a slow upward trend. We have seen the bottom.”
Brooks also said that retailers and restaurants Hawaii should soon expect to see include Sonic Drive-In, Olive Garden, H&M, Bloomingdale’s, Ulta Beauty, Urban Outfitters, Sport Chalet, Dick’s Sporting Goods, DSW Inc. and Uniqlo.
Additionally, he pointed out that Hawaii should expect the expansion of retailers and grocery stores such as Safeway, Target and T.J. Maxx.
Bishop Street Commercial’s Matt Bittick took to the podium next but not before taking a “selfie” with Hawaii News Now’s Howard Dicus, who also was the moderator for the event, attended by some 700 people.
Bittick predicted that by the end of this year, the office market vacancy rate in Honolulu will hover around 13 percent, which is slightly lower than what CBRE Hawaii reported in the fourth quarter of 2013.
A year ago, nearly 15 percent of Honolulu’s office space sat empty, CBRE Hawaii said.
Whatever the case, Bittick noted that office space in Honolulu is still cheaper when compared to other markets such as San Francisco.
For Mark Ambard of Ambard & Co. Commercial Real Estate, who made sure to show the audience some of his recent Japan ski trip photos during his presentation, the industrial market will require lots of patience.
“Space is available, but not abundant [and] business growth is still relatively slow [with] current spaces often not matching current users,” he said in his presentation. “Develop now if you can find land. Rents will go up [so] tenants should lock in now. Land is gold, get now, develop now.”
From one colorful presentation to the next, Mike Hamasu of Colliers International Hawaii didn’t forget to bring his popular wizard hat to the podium.
His investment report encompassed some positive numbers for 2013 with $3.9 billion in sales, a 78 percent jump from the $2.1 billion recorded in 2012.
Led by hotel and apartment sales, the investment market is as active as it has been since the Great Recession.
And Hamasu, who jokingly mentioned that he is accepting donations for a new wizard hat, said he projects to see more of the same in the investment market in 2014.