Steady and stable may sound dull, but Columbus commercial pros wouldn’t want their city any other way

Steady. Stable. That may sound boring. But Kevin James, senior vice president and principal with the Columbus, Ohio, office of Colliers International, says that no word better describes Ohio’s capital city right now.

And in times of economic turmoil, steady is pretty good.

“We are a stable, steady market,” James said. “Having the state capital here always helps. We have Ohio State University here, too, which is, year after year, one of hte largest universities in the country. We have prestigious research centers here. Big companies are headquartered here. The college graduates are constantly staying in Columbus and getting jobs here. That helps keep us stable.”

Columbus isn’t unusual in this way. Many of the markets that Midwest Real Estate News covers can be called stable. Madison, Wis, for instance, features many of the same factors that benefit Columbus: It has its own Big 10 university and is also the state capital. It, too, benefits from the annual influx of smart, talented graduates who find jobs in the city.

This steady nature often sounds dull, especially during boom times. When commercial property values are soaring on the coasts, they seem to plod along in much of the Midwest.

But when the national economy sours? We’ve all seen the bottoms that markets on the coasts have suffered. In the Midwest? Sure, our markets suffered during the recession and its aftermath. Our markets are still suffering. But they didn’t fall quite as hard. And much of the credit to that goes to the conservative, steady nature of their commercial real estate markets.

Call that boring if you’d like. But James — and the other commercial real estate pros I’ve interviewed — also call it smart. Stable real estate markets look awfully good these days.

– Dan Rafter

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