I’m not sure why I am feeling particularly grateful as we turn the corner from summer to fall, but as I contemplate it, I realize it could be a few things. The weather is getting cooler and the air has that crisp feel that always gets me excited for sweaters, hot cocoa, and my favorite holiday of the year, Thanksgiving. Weather seems to have a profound impact on how people think and feel. I was in Seattle last week for a client event, and mentioned to a couple of my CBRE colleagues that our Seattle clients are a group of really kind, wonderful people. The response in both cases was, “Yeah, they’re all really happy because we haven’t had rain in 51 days.”
Or, my gratitude could be from the simple fact that I am now 43 years old and have started to realize what’s important in my life. My children are growing too quickly, and every moment with them feels precious and fleeting. My husband and I seem to watch them with renewed awe. They understand humor now and we laugh together as a family. I find myself not wanting those snippets in time to end. On the other hand, maybe it has something to do with the fact that they can dress themselves now and we are no longer so “in the weeds.”
It also dawned on me that my gratitude might have something to do with the important date that is now a marker for the start of fall in our country, Sept. 11. As horrible as that day was, tremendous good also came from how Americans responded. It is difficult to put into words what that day did to us, but our differences evaporated. We joined together and focused almost exclusively on what matters most, each other. The anniversary of 9/11 always gives me that same feeling of brotherhood and connectivity to everyone around me, both strangers and friends.
But then, I reflect on the creature that I am. This is a creature with ego (some good, some bad), varying levels of confidence depending on the situation, highly competitive, and with a good chunk of my self-esteem tied to my professional success. This means that if I am totally honest, part of the lift in my spirits and heightened gratitude is due to the fact that the commercial real estate market, in the space in which I play, is much, much better this year.
For retail property sales under $20 million, volumes are up significantly over last year and are pointing to a strong finish for the year. Texas is faring particularly well, as we are enjoying the inflow of cross state capital from virtually every other state in the country. And there are positive trends nationally in the private capital space.
If I were to compare 2012 to a “like kind” year in our recent real estate market history, I would liken it to 2005ish. Private capital investors seem to be past the shock of what we experienced in 2009. Investors are playing “offense” again, as it relates to building personal wealth through real estate investment. People are investing with the shared belief that a window of opportunity is open, but it will not remain open forever.
Whatever the reason for my heightened sense of gratitude, I am resolved to keep it—even when interest rates spike, my kids don’t listen, other drivers cut me off, or deals fall apart. In spite of my human frailties, approaching each day with gratitude for the massive abundance enjoyed in daily life just puts me in the right state of mind.
Jennifer Pierson is a national managing director of CBRE’s private capital group and also serves on the firm’s capital markets national leadership team. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.