Local commercial real estate brokerages had a boom year in 2016.

The value of Los Angeles County leases and sales among the firms on the Business Journal’s list of the most active brokerages in the region grew by 26.8 percent last year to $94.9 billion from the previous year’s $74.9 billion.

Twenty-five of the 37 companies on this year’s list saw their local deals value grow, while six firms were down for 2016. Two firms made it on to the list for the first time while four had incomplete data for calculating growth and weren’t factored into the cumulative deals value.

Downtown-based CBRE Group Inc., which has consistently topped the list in recent years, again was ranked No. 1 with $13.8 billion in total local deals value in 2016, up 1.7 percent from $13.6 billion in 2015. The company had $7.4 billion in sales and $6.4 billion in leases, with such notable deals as the Warner Music Group lease for the Ford Factory in downtown’s Arts District at $10 million annually over 13 years.

Buyers and investors are optimistic about the value of property in the region, with major development projects in the pipeline, said Lewis Horne, president of the Southern California division of CBRE.

“Look at the expansion of USC and what we’ve seen with investment from George Lucas (for his museum at Exposition Park), and what’s happening with University Park and Inglewood right now,” Horne said. “These are massive projects and are very exciting. … What really drives people to the area is the fact that we’re so rich in talent and we’ve got creative talent in Los Angeles and talented employees.”

CBRE was followed again by Chicago-based Cushman & Wakefield, which the Business Journal estimated had $10.7 billion in deals for 2016, up 5 percent from $10.2 billion in 2015. Executive Managing Director Andrew McDonald said the firm couldn’t provide complete county numbers to the Business Journal because it changed its practices to separate local office accounts from L.A. deals handled by corporate brokers outside of the area after the firm’s merger with Chicago-based DTZ in 2015.

McDonald said Cushman & Wakefield’s local office saw growth last year.

“Our top-line revenue and bottom-line revenues are up by double digits,” he said.

Growth at top

New York-based Newmark Knight Frank followed Cushman & Wakefield with the third-highest deal volume at $9.8 billion, which was up 53 percent from $6.4 billion in 2015.


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