Many investors have concerns about the strength of the commercial real estate (CRE) market, but don't tell Jones Lang LaSalle
Jones Lang LaSalle's outlook for the year was rosy, with CEO Colin Dyer comparing the market environment to a "bright spring day." Management believes that the investment property market has bottomed, with recovery already having begun in Asia and select European and U.S. cities. The company sees the worldwide leasing market as a little further behind in its recovery, but Asia is again leading a gradual return to rental growth. That's consistent with the views that competitor CB Richard Ellis
Obviously, a stable and recovering commercial real estate market would be a boon to Jones Lang LaSalle. However, an investment in it isn't just a bet on a near-term turnaround for the entire CRE market. What's more important is that Jones Lang LaSalle is a strong company that has survived the last two years to become even stronger. In addition to acquiring firms like Dallas-based Staubach, Jones Lang LaSalle has opened offices in new markets like Egypt, positioning itself for future growth.
The company has expanded its business partners as well. In the first quarter alone, Jones Lang LaSalle won contracts with eight new corporate clients, was six-for-six in renewal opportunities, and broadened its existing relationships with three of its clients. Adding those eight new clients to its roster is extremely important, as once a relationship is established, it often leads to more business and revenue opportunities. For instance, Philips Electronics
Jones Lang LaSalle is clearly a cyclical play -- its shares lost well over 80% of their value during the financial crisis before recovering sharply during the market's rally. Even having seen its stock quadruple from the March 2009 lows, Jones Lang LaSalle could continue to strengthen when the CRE market eventually returns to life, be it this year or further down the road. I believe that savvy investors should hold onto their shares in the meantime.
Have an opinion on JLL or the CRE market? Leave a comment below.
Real estate rumblings: