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20th Annual CREED Conference Delves into Hampton Roads Real Estate Market

Attendees at the 20th annual Hampton Roads Real Estate Market Review and Forecast, hosted by Old Dominion University's E.V. Williams Center for Real Estate and Economic Development (CREED), heard about an industry with challenges, but also significant growth opportunities in select areas.

The CREED event was hosted March 12 at ODU's Ted Constant Convocation Center. It featured reports and forecasts produced by local experts about the residential, industrial, office, multifamily, retail and investment markets in Hampton Roads.

Attendees heard some good news about the local real estate market. Vacancy rates in general saw declines in 2014, and while they vary by sector and submarket, forecasters suggest they are poised to decline again this year, suggesting marginal improvement in the real estate market.

A comparative boom in retail investment in Southside Hampton Roads, economic spinoffs from the Port of Virginia and positive signs of continued recovery in the residential housing market were among the strengths indicated by presenters.

Industry challenges include the severe drag placed on the overall local economy because of sequestration, a flat-lining of the new residential home construction market, as well as higher vacancy rates and falling prices in some submarkets, notably on the Peninsula.

John Lombard, CREED executive director and chair of the School of Public Service in ODU's Strome College of Business, said the event is an important annual snapshot of a segment of the economy that is vital to Hampton Roads.

"It is a dynamic market, it is a multi-faceted market," Lombard said. "From its inception, CREED has worked to fuse expertise, scholarship and practitioner support into producing this annual report and forecast, to help all stakeholders in the marketplace make better-informed decisions."

This year's event also included a panel discussion on transformative issues affecting the real estate market in Hampton Roads, and beyond. Moderated by Victor Pickett, senior vice president and regional manager with Grandbridge Real Estate Capital, the panel featured Robert M. Stanton, chairman of Stanton Partners, Inc.; Ramon W. Breeden, Jr., president and CEO of The Breeden Company; and Anthony P. Nero, president of Armada Hoffler Properties, Inc.

Presenters of the six sector reports included Deborah Stearns, senior vice president, brokerage, Jones Lang LaSalle Hampton Roads; J. Scott Adams, CCIM, president, mid-south region, CBRE; William C. Throne, first vice president, industrial, Cushman & Wakefield/THALHIMER; J. Van Rose, president, new homes division, Rose & Womble Realty, Co. LLC; Dwight D. Dunton III, president and CEO, Bonaventure Realty Group, LLC; and Christopher Rouzie, senior vice president, managing broker, Cushman & Wakefield/THALHIMER.

This year's Market Review and Forecast was the first released under the renamed Strome College of Business at Old Dominion University. The business college was renamed in recognition of an $11-million gift by the Strome Family Foundation led by alumnus Mark Strome and his wife Tammy Strome. The gift also helped inspire the creation of the Strome Entrepreneurial Center, a campus-wide hub designed to support entrepreneurs at every stage of the process, creating opportunity for students and growing the economy.

For more information, or to receive a copy of CREED's 2015 Hampton Roads Real Estate Market Review and Forecast, call 757-683-5352, or visit the CREED website.

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