A 2016 Outlook With CBRE’s Ryan Miller

With 2016 approaching, we wanted to hear what was top of mind for brokers around the country. We recently spoke with Ryan Miller, a First Vice President at CBRE in the Greater Washington, DC area. Read his interview below:

What concerns you most in 2016 for the CRE industry in the DC region?

Ryan Miller: It can be summed up in one word: Trump! Well, not really, but the unpredictability surrounding the presidential election and the long-term economic viability of the country are two areas that create both challenges and, possibly, opportunities. Election years always create a lull in activity due to the uncertainty surrounding who will be in office, and how that will bring about changes that directly affect the government contractors in the area — two areas that directly affect our market and our business here in the Greater Washington, DC region.

How do you anticipate tenants will handle the uncertainty?

RM: Many larger, established companies will take the conservative route and refrain from making big decisions, at least until the election in 2016. Conversely, growing technology and cybersecurity companies — whose products and services will be relevant regardless of the political landscape — will continue to make significant commitments around hiring, capital expenditures, and acquisitions. The larger companies might begin to make larger, longer-term commitments – particularly defense contractors – once they are able to read more than just the tea leaves on how a new administration is going to address defense spending and the federal budget overall.

Willl you change your strategy to continue engaging with large and small tenants?

RM: Uncertainty or not, clients are requiring us to be more nimble, responsive, and creative. In this market, decisions now need to be made in short order. There is little time to react once a contract has been awarded, an acquisition has been completed, or a new piece of business comes through the door. So, we are increasingly adapting to this rapid dynamic and introducing new technologies and processes to facilitate that type of collaborative interaction with our clients.

And what about the CRE community? How do you think they’re thinking about the election year?

RM: The Greater DC Region is impacted greatly by the national political and legislative landscape. From the companies that exist to influence policy, to those on the receiving end of the contracts, this area revolves around Capitol Hill and 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue more so than any other area in the country. The Federal Government is THE industry here, and while the area is diversifying slightly, it will continue to govern the economic climate and the decisions that ultimately affect our CRE industry.A change in administration and the corresponding policy can ultimately influence everything from taxes to energy consumption in office buildings. This impacts the building owners, the corporate and government tenants, and, therefore, the brokerage community.

Outside of the election, is there another CRE-specific trend you’re watching?

RM: One major trend is CREtech. CREtech is fundamentally changing how we interact with clients, analyze transactions, and close deals. I believe the industry will operate much differently in five years than it does currently. This is being driven by the CREtech tech companies who are developing sophisticated tools that introduce efficiency, transparency and comprehensive analysis in a very innovative and valuable fashion.

Billy Fink
Billy Fink
Billy Fink is a former member of the VTS team.
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