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Jim Costello

Jim Costello

Executive Director, MSCI Research

Jim Costello co-heads the real-assets research team, with responsibility for the Americas. He is the principal author of capital-markets research and a frequent speaker at industry events. At Real Capital Analytics, which MSCI acquired in 2021, Jim was a leader for U.S. research. He spent two decades at Torto Wheaton Research working on issues of real estate risk and forecasting. Jim is a member of The Counselors of Real Estate and served a term as a member of the Commercial Board of Governors of the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Research and Insights

Articles by Jim Costello

    Did you get the memo? There's more to commercial real estate than office space.

    Podcast | Feb 29, 2024 | Tom Leahy, Jim Costello

    When it comes to commercial real estate, much of the attention of investors and the financial press has focused on the state of the office sector, which has been hurting. And while real concerns exist, there are also potential opportunities across and within the various real-estate sectors. 

    One Size Does Not Fit All in the Office Market

    4 mins read Blog | Feb 14, 2024 | Jim Costello

    Prices have fallen sharply for the U.S. office market, but it would be a mistake to assume that all assets face the same challenges. We examine where buyers and sellers sit on pricing to estimate the extent of owners’ potential losses. 

    2024 Trends to Watch in Real Assets

    8 mins read Blog | Dec 13, 2023 | Will Robson, Alexis Maltin, Jim Costello, David Green-Morgan, Tom Leahy, Benjamin Martin-Henry, Bryan Reid

    After the market dislocation of 2023, investors will be hoping for a calmer 2024 in commercial real estate. We identify five key influences to help investors navigate the challenges and opportunities ahead.  

    Real Estate Investors: Stuck in the Middle with You

    Podcast | Nov 9, 2023 | Jim Costello

    Richard Hill of Cohen & Steers joins MSCI’s Jim Costello to discuss the changing perceptions of the commercial-property market, from dull and boring to dynamic and complex — and the current set of risks and potential opportunities.

    Investment Trends in Focus Quarterly Roundtable

    Podcast | Oct 12, 2023 | Thomas Verbraken, Anil Rao, Hitendra D Varsani, Jim Costello

    Our quarterly roundtable examines markets, and market-moving events to help institutional investors as they determine the best way forward; across asset classes and parsing out differences between developed and emerging markets.

    Small Banks Falter in US Commercial-Property Lending

    2 mins read Quick Take | Oct 2, 2023 | Jim Costello

    The share of the U.S. commercial-mortgage market captured by regional and local banks tumbled in Q2 of 2023, as the high-profile failure of several banks cast a cloud on lending activity. We show the retreat in both market share and in mortgage originations.

    Better Incentives Could Quicken a Return to the Office

    4 mins read Blog | Sep 15, 2023 | Jim Costello

    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 Estate

    5 mins read Blog | Aug 22, 2023 | Jim Costello

    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 Trouble

    4 mins read Blog | Jun 2, 2023 | Jim Costello

    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 | Jim Costello

    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 Q1

    2 mins read Quick Take | Apr 21, 2023 | Jim Costello

    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 Story

    2 mins read Quick Take | Apr 12, 2023 | Jim Costello

    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 Again

    Podcast | Mar 23, 2023 | Andy Sparks, Florian Sommer, Jim Costello

    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 Mortgages

    2 mins read Quick Take | Mar 20, 2023 | Jim Costello

    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 Pricing

    5 mins read Blog | Mar 9, 2023 | Jim Costello

    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 | Jim Costello

    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 Q4

    2 mins read Quick Take | Jan 19, 2023 | Jim Costello

    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 Unique

    5 mins read Blog | Dec 15, 2022 | Jim Costello

    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 Estate

    6 mins read Blog | Nov 2, 2022 | Jim Costello

    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 Path

    2 mins read Quick Take | Sep 27, 2022 | Jim Costello, Bryan Reid, Haley Crimmins, Gillian Mollod

    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 Inflation

    2 mins read Quick Take | Sep 15, 2022 | Jim Costello

    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 | Tom Leahy, Jim Costello

    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 | Jim Costello

    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 Noise

    4 mins read Blog | Jun 7, 2022 | Jim Costello

    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 Quarter

    1 mins read Quick Take | Apr 22, 2022 | Jim Costello

    Sales climbed at double-digit rates from a year ago in…

    Top Global Investors: Piling Into Apartment, Industrial in 2021

    2 mins read Quick Take | Apr 6, 2022 | Jim Costello

    There was record momentum behind capital deployed by…