Michael Sumichrast, former chief economist for the National Association of Home Builders and now a real estate consultant, is telling clients that the best is over for the nation's construction boom.
"Next year we will have a deep decline in overall construction," Sumichrast said in his newsletter, Commercial Real Estate Report. "We will eventually identify this as an investment recession, with a sharp decline in housing."
Nonetheless, Sumichrast said that 1988 "will probably not be a recession year, but one of slow economic growth.
"More than any other factor, near-record real interest rates are responsible for my rather pessimistic construction outlook.
"The second most repressive factor for new construction is overbuilding. This can be traced directly to the Tax Equity and Financial Reform Act of 1981," he said. "In the housing area, we have reached the limit of what people can afford to buy at current prices and interest rates."
Sumichrast said he believes that the difficult times in the oil and energy states are over and that investors should buy real estate in Texas. "Don't expect the growth areas to continue to grow," Sumichrast said. "The Northeast -- the states from Maine to Carolina -- have clearly peaked. Don't go there now."
Centennial Cos. has won top honors as the development company of the year from the Northern Virginia chapter of the National Association of Industrial & Office Parks. The group also honored William H. Lauer as its member of the year.
The group gave first-place awards to developers for designs of office buildings and parks, including: Best office building over 150,000 square feet -- Metropolitan Partnership Ltd., Tysons International Plaza.
Best office building 75,000 to 150,000 square feet -- Hazel/Peterson Cos., Fair Lakes One, Fairfax.
Best office building under 75,000 square feet -- Savage/Fogarty Co. Inc., TransPotomac Canal Center II, Alexandria.
Best high-tech office building over 100,000 square feet -- TRW Inc. Federal Systems Group, Fairfax.
Best high-tech office building under 100,000 square feet -- Quadrangle Development Corp., Fairbrook I, Herndon.
Best research and development warehouse building over 100,000 square feet -- Boston Properties, 7601 Boston Blvd., Springfield.
Best research and development warehouse building under 100,000 square feet -- Holladay Corp., Battlefield Business Park I, Manassas.
Best office park over 25 acres -- Hazel/Peterson Cos., Tysons McLean Office Park, McLean.
Best office park under 25 acres -- Rouse & Associates, Fair Oaks Corporate Center, Fairfax.
IN THE BUSINESS ... Associated Cos. has started construction on Wisteria Industrial Park, a 40,000-square-foot warehouse distribution center in Germantown ... The National Corporation for Housing Partnerships has sold Capital Homes Inc. to a subsidiary of Trafalgar House PLC of London. Capital Homes has been a builder in the Washington-Baltimore area since 1977. The sale resulted in a pretax gain for NCHP of about $12 million ... The Prentiss Copley Investment Group has bought most of the office building and business park assets in the United States of the Canadian-owned Cadillac Fairview Corp. for $435 million in cash and assumption of related debts. The purchaser is a partnership formed by Michael V. Prentiss, formerly president of Cadillac Fairview's Urban Development business unit, and an affiliate of Copley Real Estate Advisors Inc. on behalf of New England Mutual Life Insurance Co. and other investors. The property includes about 17 million square feet of rentable area either completed or under construction, plus additional land for development ... The Suburban Maryland Building Industry Association is offering a free eight-week construction craft training program beginning Nov. 9. For more information, call 572-5900. The association's charitable foundation, Operation Tom Sawyer, and its Southern Maryland chapter are dedicating the Tri-County Youth Services Bureau in St. Charles on Thursday. More than 75 firms have contributed time, money and materials to the construction of the counseling facility ... The first convention of the newly formed Commercial Real Estate Women-National concludes here today ... The Investment Group Development Corp. has started renovation work on the 64,000-square-foot Ingleside Building on Dominion Drive in McLean ... Hammond S. (Skip) Carr, immediate past president of the Maryland Association of Realtors, has been named 1987 Realtor of the Year by the state association, while James E. Matthews of Towson has been elected president of the association ... The Washington D.C. Association of Realtors has named G. Thomas Borger of the Borger Cos. Inc. as Realtor of the Year and Albert J. Didden Jr. of Weaver Bros. Inc. as Realtor-Associate of the Year. In addition, the association has given the Daniel C. Rosinski Award for Commercial Leasing to Blane T. Dodson of Cassidy & Pinkard Inc., the Martin I. Isen Award for Public Service to Norris A. Dodson III of the John R. Pinkett Inc. and special appreciation awards to Jacqueline Dorfmann of the Randall H. Hagner & Co. and Frank A. Pietranton Jr. of Pier Associates Inc. ... Elizabeth Abruzzo, manager of the Rockville office of Lewis & Silverman Inc. has been installed as president of the Montgomery County Board of Realtors ... The Urban Land Institute has given one of its six 1987 Awards for Excellence to the Willard Inter-Continental Hotel and Office Building complex for excellence in rehabilitation ... Mason Hirst Cos. has started construction on a 275,000-square-foot office building at 1760 Business Center Dr. at the Lake Fairfax Business Center in Reston ... Merrill Lynch Realty at 8015 Braddock Rd. in Springfield is sponsoring a free seminar on buying or selling a home Wednesday at 7 p.m.
PERSONNEL FILE ... Legum & Norman Inc., a community association management company, has named John A. Rhodes senior vice president of community management ... David Zwald, retirement home administrator of Thomas House in Washington, has been named executive director of Ginger Cove, a life-care retirement community under construction south of Annapolis ... David W. Glenn, senior vice president of the planning and acquisitions division of CalFed Inc., the nation's fourth-largest savings institution, has been named chief financial officer of the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp.