Commercial Real Estate Feels Pinch of Slow Economy

Since the terrorist attacks insiders in the real estate industry say investors are thinking long and hard about where and how they spend their money. All the realtors and developers we talked to say they've noticed a slow down in the commercial real estate market. What they don't agree on is how long the slow down will last and how much of impact it will have on the coast economy.

Developer Randy Rigley decided to postpone development on a plot of land on Highway 90 in Ocean Springs. It's just one of a couple of sites Rigley has decided not to develop right now.Rigley says business off 30 to 40 percent from this time last year. He says a lot of businesses may be going up along the coast but that doesn't mean times in the commercial real estate market are good.

Rigley said "I think what you see being built right now is a result of things that have been in the pipeline for 18 months to 2 years and are just now coming to fruition as far as construction goes."

Some realtors say they are optimistic for the future. They say investors still want to do business on the coast...but are putting more thought into what types of projects to undertake.

"Certainly September the 11th has been a defining moment for the United States and people are certainly re-examining investment strategies and everything else you would examine in a time such as that," said realtor Cynthia Joachim. "We are getting a number of inquiries about making investments and coming to the coast certainly to at least look around and see what the coast has to offer."

Not everyone thinks low interest rates will help boost sales in the short term.

"Even though we're at probably some all time low interest rates just the fear of the unknown of what the entire market is gonna do is gonna keep local and national type of retail businesses from locating other than what's being already done right now" said Rigley.

Joachim said "The interest rates both prime as well as the residential rates certainly are enough to motivate anybody to at least get into the market to see what the market has to offer. "

Realtors say investors seem to be interested in retail and office space rather than developing apartment complexes and hotels.

by Danielle Thomas