A new survey out of Central Oregon suggests the outlook for Bend's commercial real estate market might be improving. Vacancy rates for the city's industrial, retail and office buildings all declined in 2012.
Every quarter, brokers with Bend-based Compass Commercial Real Estate check in with property local owners and managers. Howard Friedman is a partner with that firm. He says the biggest improvements came in the industrial sector. Businesses snapped up three times a much space as they have on average over the last decade.
Friedman says even though commercial vacancy rates remain high there is a reason for optimism - namely a strengthening housing market. He says trends in commercial typically lag behind trends in housing by about a year.
"They're tied together at the hip," he said.
And Friedman points out right now U.S. housing starts are the best they've been since 2008.
"And we're seeing that trend also in Central Oregon, and hoping it continues. And then commercial should follow," he said.
Friedman expects a full recovery is likely still years away.
In an earlier version of this story, OPB misidentified one of the partners at the real estate firm, Compass Commercial. His name is Howard Friedman. OPB regrets the error.