Bridging a 20-Year Gap: The Appraisal Institute’s New Appraisal Review Designation

by Web Collins, Executive Vice President/Partner of CBRE/NE’s Valuation & Advisory Group

The Great Depression of the 1930s brought chaotic conditions to the valuation field. As a solution, the Appraisal Institute was formed in 1932 and created the first appraisal text, conducted courses to train appraisers, bestowed MAI designation and set ethics and guidelines to be followed.

The savings and loan crisis of the 1980s was the next chaotic condition, which resulted in government controls being placed over the appraisal industry. The Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act of 1989 (FIRREA) was the basis for appraiser licensing, regulation and guidelines. Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice were created by the Appraisal Standards Board of the Appraisal Foundation, authorized by Congress as the source of appraisal standards and qualifications. Each state within the U.S. set up their own board of registration for appraisers.

While FIRREA was intended for lending institutions, appraisals go far beyond preparation for lenders alone. Appraisals can be prepared for boards of appeal, zoning boards of review and any number of other parties outside of FIRREA and outside of the state and federal court system of the United States.

Those reviewing reports need not necessarily be appraisers or judges. Reports can end up in anyone’s hands and people with their own agenda. On an anonymous basis, complaints can be filed with state boards involving appraisers. I regularly attend national appraisal meetings. At one meeting, in casual conversation, one of the nation’s top appraisers let it be known that “he was turned in twice last week.” It is the impact of stories of this type that cause the Appraisal Institute to act time and time again!

To read the rest of the article covered by New England Real Estate Journal, click here.

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#WednesdayWisdom: 2Q14 MarketView Reports Released

by Suzanne Duca, Director of Research

Boston Office (click to download) 
Despite a record number of big deals in 2013, the Downtown Office market was able to eclipse last year’s absorption pace and finish the first half of 2014 with over 740,000 sq. ft. of positive absorption. Creative tenants fueled office demand in the CBD, which posted almost 550,000 sq. ft. of positive absorption. Class A availability in the CBD dropped to 18%, a decline of almost 200 basis points since year-end 2013. Class B availability has reached the lowest point since 2001, now sitting at 10.6%.

Cambridge Office/Lab (click to download)
The Cambridge Office market was robust this quarter and, with fundamentals strengthening, large tech titans began to make their presence felt throughout East Cambridge. Start-up and new-economy tenant activity also flourished during 2Q14, with a number of early-stage companies planting a flag or expanding. The lab market continued its positive momentum in 2Q14 and experienced 160,000 sq. ft. of positive absorption for the quarter.

Suburban Boston Office (click to download)
Strong demand from both organic growth and out-of-market tenants helped offset several large givebacks leading the Suburban Office market to a relatively flat second quarter, posting 73,000 sq. ft. of positive absorption. The Gutierrez Company broke ground on a new 100,000 sq. ft., speculative office building at 4 Burlington Woods.

Suburban Boston Industrial (click to download)
The Greater Boston Industrial market continues to tighten, posting 374,000 sq. ft. of positive absorption in 2Q14 with availability declining 40 basis points quarter-over-quarter. As the overall market continues to tighten, average asking rents continue to rise, ending at $6.83 NNN per sq. ft. in 2Q14 and reaching the highest point since the beginning of 2009.


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#FrontierFriday: Fenway Tops Again

1325 Event

By Timothy Howe, Vice President, Client Services, Downtown Brokerage

Resuming our quest to determine the next frontier in Downtown Boston, it is fitting to delve into the Fenway, following the exciting topping off event this past Wednesday at the Van Ness. The Fenway submarket has featured 24/7 amenities for many years, however recently the area has blossomed with development activity of all product types. So why might Fenway be the next Boston frontier?

Access: Convenience to the area is constantly improving, as seen by the recent completion of the Yawkey Way MBTA Commuter Rail project.

Talent: Situated in a hub of universities, the Longwood Medical Area and more, the Fenway is an urban cluster that draws entrepreneurs, professionals, scientists, artists, visionaries and students together for creative convergence.

Urban Living: New construction activity has augmented the existing supply to provide options in all price ranges. This week alone resulted in two residential topping-off events, following Wednesday’s Van Ness event by Samuels & Associates, the Viridian was topped off on Thursday by The Abbey Group.

Entertainment: From historic Fenway Park, to the contemporary, high-profile emerging restaurants and retail, to the community-enhancing City Target and rumored Wegmans, the Fenway boasts a unique retail mix that blurs commerce, culture, art, work and play.

Office Revitalization: Samuels & Associates’ 1325 Boylston at the Van Ness is the first speculative office building since The Fallon Company built ONE Marina Park Drive in the Seaport. Increasing momentum, Samuels is also expanding office space as part of the Landmark Center renovation. With thriving retail and residential, office will bring another dynamic element to the neighborhood.

In conclusion, Fenway is filled with potential to become Boston’s next frontier. For more information about Fenway, please contact


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#WednesdayWisdom: 2Q14 Hartford Market Stats

by Suzanne Duca, Director of Research

The second quarter 2014 statistics for the Hartford market have been published by the CBRE/NE Creative+Analytics team. Click the links below to download quick reference guides.

Click here for 2Q14 Hartford Office Statistics

Click here for 2Q14 Hartford Industrial Statistics

Be on the lookout for our MarketView reports later this month!

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Valuations for the Highest-Quality Shopping Centers are on Fire, So Where is All the Product?

by Nat Heald, Senior Vice President of CBRE/NE’s Capital Markets team (@NatHeald)

As we reach the halfway mark of 2014, it’s clear that valuations for the highest-quality shopping centers have reached a new peak, outpacing the records set in 2006/2007. Today’s market is characterized by an excess of aggressive equity capital, a steady supply of inexpensive debt and a level of confidence that enables significant investments in the future of our market. From a demand and pricing perspective, today’s market is the strongest New England has ever seen.

With valuations on fire, one might justifiably expect that 2014 would see a highly liquid market as owners take advantage of the significant run-up in values. Instead, investors have been left confused and often frustrated by the shortage of high-quality properties coming to market.

The challenge facing our market today is a dramatic disconnect between what most investors want to buy and what most owners are willing to sell. With a little flexibility on both sides, however, there is still a window of opportunity to make 2014 the banner year it ought to be.

To read the rest of the article covered by New England Real Estate Journal, click here.

To subscribe to the CBRE/New England blog, please visit the main page or email a request to