From the Editor
BY RANIA OTEIF Y, EDITOR
Beyond Our Borders
This past year, massive street protests in Bangkok aimed at
toppling Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra slowed growth
in Thailand, Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy after Indonesia. By the end of the year, Thailand cut its projected gross-domestic-product (GDP) growth for 2013 from
3. 7 percent to 2. 8 percent. The unrest and unfavorable international conditions also led the country to downgrade
its 2014 projected GDP growth to around 4 percent from 5.1
percent, according to Thailand’s Commerce Ministry.
The recent setbacks, however, have come after a period
of remarkable growth. Thailand’s annual GDP growth rate
averaged around 5 percent for five years to 2007, after the
country went through a decade-long period to 1995 where
it was one of the world’s fastest growing economies.
Although political turmoil and economic uncertainty in
2009 and flooding in 2011 slowed growth, the World Bank
upgraded Thailand’s economy from a lower to an upper-middle income economy in 2011. Thailand also recently
made the World Bank’s list of world’s most business-friendly countries. The countryside and provincial towns
in the north and northeast portions of the country have
lagged behind in reducing poverty, however.
In the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis, many
real estate developments were delayed, however. But the
situation may be changing. CBRE Thailand recently reported the Phuket market — the country’s largest island
and a haven for resorts built around the sandy beaches on
the west coast — was poised to take off again. Six new hotels were expected to be completed in Phuket by the end
of this past year. Some 30 mid-range to luxury hotels were
under construction and slated for completion by 2016.
This past third quarter, Bangkok’s office-space-occupancy
rate increased to 89.8 percent, the highest since the early
1990s, according to a report from CBRE. Although no new
office buildings were completed in this past third quarter,
increased demand pushed up rents for Bangkok’s prime office space by 1.5 percent quarter over quarter and by 8 percent year over year. A little less than half a million square
feet of office space was under construction, the report says.
GETTING AHEAD DOESN’T MEAN GIVING UP THE BASICS.
Although innovation is always required for growing any business, working in the commercial mortgage market requires professionals who are well-versed in the basics. This is the
unique combination that can help commercial mortgage professionals save time and close
more deals, as laid out in this edition’s lead article by Stephen A. Smith of Knight Commercial
Smith’s advice brings a crucial point to commercial mortgage brokers’ attention: Focus on the
basics. That is what can help them avoid chasing dead-end deals, wasting their time and efforts. Read more on Page 23.
As the market enters a new stage of recovery this year, commercial mortgage brokers are running out of time to reposition their businesses for the opportunities that a full-fledged recovery may bring their way. It’s important, therefore, to take a close look at where your business
is, and plan the way forward carefully.
That is why we are bringing you this edition of
Scotsman Guide with a special focus on business development. Take a look at this edition’s selection of articles
that hopefully can help you grow and improve your
business. In particular, don’t miss the relationship-building tips provided by Lehigh Financial Group LLC’s
Jeffrey Barber on Page 26.
This edition also covers the state of Washington in our
award-winning Spotlight feature on Page 20. Washington is home to many top tech and aerospace companies, including Microsoft and Boeing — as well as
Scotsman Guide Media. Seattle has a booming multifamily sector, and the industrial sector is picking up
around the Puget Sound area.
We even took our coverage of Washington a step forward to provide a special report on how the reshoring
trend — that is, U.S. companies moving their offshore
productions back to the U.S — has impacted the greater Seattle/Puget Sound industrial real
estate market. The report is written for Scotsman Guide by Tony Kusak of Cushman & Wakefield | Commerce. Read more on Page 38.
Although a trend like reshoring may not have an even impact across the nation, being aware
of its signs and effects can help you position your business to capitalize on its opportunities
should it occur closer to your local market. This is the sort of knowledge that opens doors for
originators to get ahead of their competition.
And sharing your knowledge can help you build your name as an industry expert and get a
little bit more exposure for yourself and your company. If you’re passionate about particular
niches or trends — or the overall commercial mortgage market — and want to share your passion and expertise with other professionals, please let us know. We will be happy to walk you
through our editorial-submission process, and help you get an article published in Scotsman
Guide. Reach out today to our associate editor, Kurt Stephan, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whatever you do to help your business grow should be rooted in a solid foundation of market
knowledge and industry connections. That is why you need to act now on getting your name
out, building relationships and exploring new loan and property niches. If you don’t do it, your
rivals probably will.