Monday AM January 26th, 2009

Texans can expect a less bumpy ride through the recession than the rest of the country, including in the commercial real estate sector. Ed Mayberry reports.

Nathaniel Karp with Compass says the Texas economy could grow by about 1.2 per cent this year.  He says overall job losses in Houston may not be as steep as in other cities, even with energy job cuts. 

"We still have solid job creation — about two per cent, so far.  So that's going to continue moderating. As that happens, the retail sales will come down and the production and manufacturing sector is going to free up some space as firms scale back.  But I don't think we're going to see a big impact, compared to the rest of the country."

Texas is providing the most upbeat scenario when it comes to commercial real estate, according to Mark Taylor with CB Richard Ellis.

"So this year we're going to see continued strength in the distribution business, and as the energy business may slow down a little bit, too, we may see slightly less demand in the manufacturing business."

Nathaniel Karp with Compass agrees that, in commercial real estate, Houston is in better shape.

"The most positive metro areas that we're seeing are in Texas.  Dallas and Houston — the vanacy rates have amost remained stable.  There's a very slight increase in Houston, and that tells us that at least from the commercial real estate prospective, Texas is on the most positive side."

Mark Taylor with CB Richard Ellis is optimistic.

"I think over the first two or three quarters, people are going to be sick and tired of being sick and tired, and I think there's going to be renewed optimism.  We've got a new government in place, we've got a new president in place.  Americans — Houstonians also — traditionally are quite confident, and we usually don't stay depressed and diminished very long."

Personal income increased in Texas by 6.7 per cent last year, limiting the impact of the housing market meltdown.  Texas home sales are expected to increase by 5.6 per cent this year, compared to an average national decline of 12.4 per cent. 

Ed Mayberry, KUHF Houston Public Radio News.

Bio photo of Ed Mayberry

Ed Mayberry

Local Anchor, All Things Considered

Ed Mayberry has worked in radio since 1971, with many of those years spent on the rock 'n' roll disc jockey side of the business...