Why the Pandemic Won’t Derail Growth in Phoenix

Article originally posted on Globe St. on March 30, 2020

Phoenix is still early in its growth cycle, and most commercial real estate players had believed the market had a long runway because it was late to recover from the last recession. However, Thomas Brophy of Colliers International, says that the job diversity gained in recent years will keep the market on track.

“Since this is a global and national concern we do not see Phoenix having a different response than other markets right now.  The economic drivers that have kept Phoenix at the top of job and population growth are still in place,” says Brophy, director of research and analytics at Colliers International, tells GlobeSt.com. “Also, Phoenix’s climate has always been one of the best for people with respiratory issues. Our dry heat that people like to complain about in the summer may prove to be very beneficial in shortening the Corona Virus curve for Phoenix.”

In the start of the year, job growth was strong in Phoenix, and it is too early to tell the impact March will have. The medical industry is one of the leading sectors for job growth. “Not only did the Phoenix MSA lead the country in job growth going into the crisis, rising 3%+ in January/February, but has continued to diversify,” says Brophy. “One area of major growth, and particularly pertinent to our current situation, has been the explosion of the biotech/medical industry.”

This market has been an engine for job creation since 2015, outpacing total job gains in the market. Brophy expects this market to remain active. “Since 2015, health care and related industries have been experiencing a 5%+ average per year growth rate and with major projects like the expansion of ASU/UA @ Phoenix Biomedical Campus in Downtown Phoenix, Creighton Medical School at Park Central and North Phoenix Mayo Campus expansion, in addition, to medical/pharmacy related hubs in Chandler/Gilbert will continue to bring high paying jobs to the region.  This is in addition to the significant increases of tech related jobs,” he says.

For that reason, Brophy is still confident in market growth, and he warns CRE players to keep a steady head. “Don’t panic because the fundamentals are still strong and this appears to be just a temporary disruption,” he says.