www.baltimoresun.com/business/real-estate/la-fi-mo-top-real-estate-issues-20130605,0,6897338.story

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The Internet, climate change will influence real estate markets

By Lauren Beale

3:06 PM EDT, June 5, 2013

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ATLANTA -- The Internet, global growth and climate change are among the top issues facing the commercial and residential real estate markets over the next decade.

Addressing a gathering of real estate journalists downtown, kickoff speaker Howard Gelbtuch, chair of the Counselors of Real Estate, sees some bright spots for retail space despite the growth in online marketplaces.

"The Internet may be killing retail in some places but not New York City, which has some of the highest retails rates in the world right now," Gelbtuch said. Another bright spot is Miami, where space in the Bal Harbour area is $3,000 a square foot compared with $300 a foot elsewhere in the region.

Buying opportunities include Sears/Kmart and J.C. Penney sites that have locked up rates at $4 a square foot where averages are $8. There's an opportunity to buy out these "dowdy" retailers, he said, and replace them with government offices, call centers or dividing them into several stores such as PetSmart or Staples.

Globally, the next growth markets may be South Korea, Nigeria, Bangladesh and Vietnam.

In Latin America, demand is rising for U.S. style offices.

"Africa is where China was 20 years ago," Gelbtuch said, as the consumer class grows.

Climate change will continue to hammer coastal property markets, increasing the cost of homeownership and building as more safeguards are added. Gelbtuch recently priced a full-house generator for his home at $32,000.