CCIM Feature

Economic Futurist

CCIM Connections


As CCIM Institute's chief economist, K.C. Conway spends a lot of time looking at the future. CCIMs need to do that too, he says, and he recently discussed several areas where real estate professionals can be better prepared for market and technological change.

Analytical skills: “We're pivoting from an era where CCIMs were data-knowledgeable; now they have to become skilled in analysis,” Conway says. Increased reliance on artificial intelligence across industries means that commercial real estate professionals “will have to be up-to-speed on analytics, AI, and other tools.”

This is particularly relevant because of blockchain technology, which means “we can eliminate intermediaries in almost every aspect of the real estate industry,” he says. “Brokers and CCIMs have to answer the question: How do we stay relevant?”

Blockchain promises access to a plethora of information, but Conway asks “who's going to control and maintain that information? What are privacy concerns for investors and tenants? These are things that CCIMs should be engaging with to help answer those questions.”

Tax and accounting skills: “The complexity of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will require that CCIMs be really sharp in their tax skills,” Conway says. “A lot of the tax provisions burn off during the next five years, so you have to keep tax skills alive and tested.”

Conway also notes that by the end of 2019, banks must be in compliance with the new Current Expected Credit Loss accounting system, and investors will be fielding more-detailed questions from lenders. “A lot of this information comes out of discounted cash-flow analysis,” he says, “and CCIMs are uniquely skilled to do a lot of DCS forecasting and analysis. Brushing up on those skills and knowing how they have an accounting application may make or break a deal.”

Adaptive reuse: As the retail landscape shifts, municipalities are faced with deserted downtowns, shopping centers, and warehouses. “CCIMs should become experts in adaptive reuse,” Conway says. The biggest challenge: cities often can't envision how such projects can work. “We can change that dynamic by having a repository of successful adaptive reuse projects,” he says. “CCIMs with all of their skills - market and investment analysis and all the designation core curriculum - are perfectly aligned to do this. We need to become experts in turning blight bright.”

Sarah Hoban

Sarah Hoban is a business writer based in the Chicago metro area.


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CIRE May/June 2018


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