Jim is chief economist on the MSCI Real Assets team and is based in New York. He is the principal author of the US Capital Trends report series and a frequent speaker at commercial real estate conferences. At Real Capital Analytics, which MSCI acquired in 2021, Jim was a leader for analysis across the commercial property universe. Jim also spent two decades at Torto Wheaton Research working on issues of real estate risk and forecasting. He is a member of the Commercial Board of Governors of the Mortgage Bankers Association and a member of The Counselors of Real Estate.
Research and Insights
Articles by Jim Costello
Better Incentives Could Quicken a Return to the Office4 mins read Blog | Sep 15, 2023 |
Office vacancy has reached a record high for properties in central business districts. Forms of compensation to attract people back to offices could include improved mass transit and reduced travel time.
Do Not Fear the Impact of AI on Commercial Real Estate5 mins read Blog | Aug 22, 2023 |
Worries about artificial intelligence supplanting knowledge workers have created more pain for the office market but a broader view of the impact on commercial real estate is vital.
Looking for Loan Trouble4 mins read Blog | Jun 2, 2023 |
The timing of loan maturities could be key to determining which areas of U.S. commercial real estate may face trouble refinancing. We look at the markets for Manhattan offices and Dallas apartments to paint the picture.
The Pool of US Commercial-Property Lenders Shrank (Again)2 mins read Quick Take | May 2, 2023 |
JPMorgan’s acquisition of First Republic Bank merges two of the largest lenders to U.S. commercial real estate. We list the top mortgage originators for 2022 and point to the possible implications of changing competition among debt providers.
Different Takes on US Commercial-Property Sales in Q12 mins read Quick Take | Apr 21, 2023 |
Sales of U.S. commercial properties tumbled relative to a year ago in the first quarter. We set the activity against longer-term trends to distinguish the weakness across property types.
Commercial-Property Debt Not Just a Small Bank Story2 mins read Quick Take | Apr 12, 2023 |
Recent articles suggesting smaller banks are behind 70% of lending to commercial real estate in the U.S. could be worrying if true. Our analysis shows that while they have gained ground, their share of total originations is still less than one-third.
Banks Have Investors Feeling Déjà vu All Over AgainPodcast | Mar 23, 2023 |
Banks failing, another sold and governments stepping in to backstop the fallout. Add to that a global economy coping with high inflation and still shaking off the COVID-19 cobwebs and, on top of that, regularly scheduled meetings for two major central banks. Our panel of MSCI experts helps put these events into context for investors managing multi-asset-class portfolios.
Fewer Lenders Active in US Commercial Mortgages2 mins read Quick Take | Mar 20, 2023 |
There is greater attention on the U.S. debt market after the failure of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank and struggles elsewhere. We look at the already-declining pool of lenders active in commercial real estate.
Manhattan Office Redevelopment: Still Stuck on Pricing5 mins read Blog | Mar 9, 2023 |
Sales of Manhattan offices for the purpose of conversion into apartments have been minimal. We look at the barriers deterring redevelopment.
Is Inflation Here to Stay?5 mins read Blog | Feb 13, 2023 |
The market has recently signaled optimism about slowing inflation and interest-rate hikes. If correct, such easing could lead to lower mortgage rates. But could real estate costs themselves continue to push up inflation?
US Property Deals Slumped, Price Growth Withered in Q42 mins read Quick Take | Jan 19, 2023 |
Prices in December fell from a month earlier and posted a small increase compared to a year ago. The volume of U.S. property deals dropped 62%.
Challenges for Non-Traded Private REITs Are Not Unique5 mins read Blog | Dec 15, 2022 |
Increased talk of redemption queues has led to some seeing a dimmer future for groups with net-asset-value REITs — but their challenges are not unique. The impact of credit-market stress has hit all private vehicles for commercial real estate.
A Correction in US Commercial Real Estate6 mins read Blog | Nov 2, 2022 |
Potential buyers and current owners of U.S. office assets have moved apart on price expectations, causing deal activity to drop. We discuss two approaches to gauging the outlook for pricing.
Commercial Property in Hurricane Ian’s Path2 mins read Quick Take | Sep 27, 2022 |
Commercial real estate with an estimated value of USD 1.5 trillion stands in the projected path of Hurricane Ian, which is forecast to make landfall in Florida this week.
Real Estate Likely to Transition to Be a Source of Inflation2 mins read Quick Take | Sep 15, 2022 |
Housing prices account for roughly one-third of the U.S. consumer price index, but have not yet contributed in a big way to recent inflation, despite a surge in apartment rents. The issue is the difference between spot-market rents and the rental measure used in the CPI.
Dorothy Did not Say, ‘There is no Place like the Office’Podcast | Aug 25, 2022 |
Investors in commercial real estate are confronting the lingering effects of COVID-19 on what being an "office worker" means. We debate the pros and cons of hybrid work and its impact on companies and investors.
What Can We Learn from the July CPI?2 mins read Quick Take | Aug 10, 2022 |
The U.S. consumer price index rose 8.5% from a year earlier in July 2022, down from the 9.1% pace in June. But this headline figure masks moves of individual drivers of price growth that went in the other direction.
The Signal for Industrial Property Amid E-Commerce Noise4 mins read Blog | Jun 7, 2022 |
Demand and pricing for industrial commercial property got a boost from spiking e-commerce demand during the early part of the pandemic. We look at the longer-term trends in e-commerce sales for guidance.
US Commercial Real Estate Sales Motor on in First Quarter1 mins read Quick Take | Apr 22, 2022 |
Sales climbed at double-digit rates from a year ago in…
Top Global Investors: Piling Into Apartment, Industrial in 20212 mins read Quick Take | Apr 6, 2022 |
There was record momentum behind capital deployed by…