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3Q Phase I Environmental Reports Up in West

Most dramatic increases seen in San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Seattle.

November 10, 2011 — El Segundo, CA — The western half of the United States experienced a 10.4 percent increase in total industry Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs) in the third quarter of 2011, compared to the like period of 2010, according to Environmental Data Resources, Inc., a recognized industry market monitor and information services firm.

“Phase I Assessments should be considered a leading indicator of real estate transactions, and of general real estate market conditions,” said Joseph P. Derhake, PE President of Partner Engineering and Science, Inc., a national environmental and engineering consulting firm. “Based on Phase I ESAs, the West may see higher volumes in real estate transactions in coming months. Generally, lenders and buyers hire Partner to do a Phase I ESA because there is a serious intent to arrange financing to complete a transaction,” said Derhake. “When we get busier, it means property transactions are headed north.”

The 13 states of the West include California, Hawaii, Alaska, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana. In all, there were 11,969 Phase I ESAs performed in the third quarter in the West, signaling many active and pending deals. Nationally, 48,826 ESA’s were conducted in the third quarter, an increase of seven percent from 3Q 2010.

Not surprisingly, more than half of the ESA’s took place in California (6,578) which also led the country in regional transaction growth with an18 percent year‐over‐year increase. San Francisco, was the third highest growth metro in US Phase I’s, at 44 percent. Los Angeles (up 31 percent), San Diego (up 23 percent) and Seattle, WA (23 percent) were all among the top 10 cities with the highest transaction volume in the U.S. in the latest quarter. Austin, TX led all cities nationally with a 52 percent increase in ESAs year‐over‐year.

Partner also has enjoyed a 33 percent increase in business in the third quarter, compared to a year earlier. “We are increasing our market share, but we are also riding an improving property market,” said Derhake. “Lenders may have tougher terms, but they are lending.” Interestingly, Partner has seen increased demand from life companies, who are picking up some of the slack from lenders.