Real Estate Alert (REA), which offers weekly updates about risks and opportunities in the U.S. commercial property market, recently named Cushman & Wakefield No. 1 in U.S. raw land sales. According to REA, Cushman & Wakefield led the way, brokering $1 billion of transactions with a 36.6% market share.
The ranking is based on sales of undeveloped land valued at $10 million or more. First-half activity puts the asset class on pace to exceed last year’s volume, which was 34% higher than in 2017. REA identified the sales of 90 properties that met the threshold and were closed by commercial real estate brokers, totaling over $2.7 billion.
The ranking excludes properties with any significant existing structures, including buildings that buyers intend to tear down for ground-up development. Also excluded are sales of stakes in pending or ongoing construction projects.
According to Terry Jackson, Land Advisory Group Lead, strong sales over the past few years has resulted in fewer opportunities to buy parcels with existing development entitlements in major markets. Investors are responding by turning their sights to “unentitled” land in cities with lower per-acre values.
“When there’s no [entitled] inventory left, the development community starts to buy land to entitle,” he said. “It is shifting where the activity is . . . Secondary and tertiary markets are where there are development opportunities that make financial sense.”