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Buying Activity on Commercial Property in Southeast Texas has Jumped

Buying Activity on Commercial Property in Southeast Texas has Jumped

written by Lee Wheeler

Over the last three months, we have seen an explosion in buying activity in Southeast Texas. Currently, Erica Goss and I have nine properties under contract and are negotiating four others. Along with this we are having serious talks with several other potential buyers. For a larger market that is not that significant, but for a tertiary market like Southeast Texas, it is big. Personally, I have been doing this since 1997 (21 years) with all but the first three years being in SETX. During that time, I have never seen this much all at the same time. The best thing is this: it is not slowing down, but rather picking up.

Sure, some of these deals may not close, but the activity is very brisk and aggressive. Sometimes markets have anomalies of activity with no rhyme or reason, but this time, we have so much baseline activity that is driving the market. Here’s a short list of those things:

  • Deepening and widening of the Sabine-Neches Ship Channel
  • Port of Beaumont expansion
  • Major industrial and petro-chemical plant expansion
  • Retail growth with many new restaurants and retailers either opening first locations in the area or expanding in the area

These are just a few of the many things that are driving this market. The ship channel project is the one that will continue to drive this area down the road. This single project is estimated to produce 78,000 permanent jobs in Jefferson County alone! 78,000 jobs are huge for a market like Houston, but for a market the size of the Beaumont-Port Arthur, MSA is beyond comprehension. Now these numbers are not just some pie in the sky number that will come from one employer. It is the result of well-known Texas economist Ray Perryman, who conducted the study to assist in getting the project moving. The other great news about those 78,000 jobs is that they are not coming in one short period of time, but over a period of 10-20 years, which provides a strong growth period rather than a simple surge.

Other indicators of the strong economy in SETX are:

  • Strong housing sales
  • Shrinking housing inventory
  • Retail sales up
  • Building permits up
    • Beaumont alone has the following in the pipeline
      • 2 hotels
      • Lots of restaurants
      • Apartments
      • Strip center
  • Infrastructure improvements happening all over SETX to include:
    • Ports
    • Highways
    • City streets

It is a great time in history to work, live, and play in SETX with so much going on and billions of dollars being pumped into our local economy. I encourage you to get there and share this information and realize that now is the time to really work hard to help your industry grow and be part of this amazing time period. Be part of the solution and not part of the problem. It is easy to say and be part of the naysayers out there, but it is another to realize what is going on and become part of the growth. The naysayers will look back one day and say, “I never realized how much our area was growing.”

Stay positive out there and enjoy the ride, SETX!

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