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» CoStar Group, Inc. Q1 2010 Earnings Call Transcript
» CoStar Group Inc. Q3 2009 Earnings Call Transcript
» CoStar Group, Inc. Q1 2009 Earnings Call Transcript
Andrew FloranceThank you Tim, and welcome everyone to CoStar Group's second quarter 2010 conference call. This is the first quarterly conference call we are making from our new headquarters building at 1331 L Street in Downtown, Washington DC. I am very pleased to report that the continued signs of stabilization in the commercial real state economy, CoStar group can report accelerating revenue growth and climbing renewal rates. Our sales bookings doubled quarter-over-quarter and our in-quarter renewal rate climbed to a very impressive annualized rate of approximately 92%. We posted another consecutive quarterly revenue record of $55.8 million, which is an increase of $5.7 million over second quarter 2009 revenues of $50.1 million. The company added $11.6 million in cash to the balance sheet during the second quarter. Our total cash, cash equivalents and investments on hand now totaled $230 million and the company continues to have no long term debt or mortgage debt because of 94% of CoStar revenues is subscription based and because we have historically higher renewal rates in the 90% plus range, we believe that CoStar group is not a highly cyclical business and it is generally a bit more defensive. Despite that fact, history shows that CoStar's revenues have grown dramatically faster during a stronger commercial real estate market than in a declining one. For that reason I would like to begin today's conference call by sharing with you in more detail some important and positive indication we continue to see emerging in the commercial real estate economy. Perhaps the most significant recent development is that office vacancies rates have stopped climbing and appeared now to have stabilized. After having experienced one of the most dramatic losses in US jobs since World War II. Job losses appear to have bottomed out and we are beginning to see consistent job growth.
In the last eight recessions, we have had since World War II the rate of job recovery has been roughly symmetrical to that of job losses. Economy.com is forecasting strong job growth over the next several years. Of there were the case it would indicate the potential for a strong commercial real estate recovery over these next several years as well. The US had already experienced three consecutive quarters of office using job growth for a total gain of 200,000 jobs. I believe that the strong year-over-year overall growth in corporate profits we are seeing is a good leading indicator for continued job growth. Important leading indicators such as temporary employment and weekly hours worked are also showing a continued positive trend.All economic lows in Greece are still threatening. I find it useful to keep in perspective that of the size of Greece is an economy of smaller [than so] obvious. The nature of job losses in this recession was somewhat unique. This time around the extensive job losses did not result in a very large amount of negative [vast] absorption. In the dot com bust, the job losses came from a smaller number of companies that eliminate most if not all of their staffs. Those sorts of job losses resulted in immediate and concentrated negative absorption of office space. This time around the job, crests were spread more broadly across many companies. Many of which reduced their stats by 10% to 15% across the board. Companies that cut 10% of their staff typically do not immediately put excess office space back into the market, so this mitigates the scale of a negative absorption. And as rents have fallen over the past several years, many tenants may simply retain this less expensive excess office space. The bottom line is that less space has come flooding back into the markets than most experts expected.
We have seen solid leasing activity levels over the past four quarters and that trend continued in the second quarter of this year, as we recorded 6 million square feet of positive net absorption of US office space during the quarter. This is very good news for our core customers as leasing commissions are a major source of their revenue.In 2009, 15 of the top 20 largest US cities suffered negative absorption of office space. But year-to-date in 2010, only 9 of top 20 say have measured any discernible negative absorption. Office leasing and absorption are recovering. Commercial real estate constructions levels in the US are stunningly low right now. Due to falling rents, declining values and increasing the fall to an incredibly tight credit, new deliveries are at their lowest levels post World War II. In fact, we believe that the amount of commercial real estate being built is less than the physical deterioration rate of commercial buildings resulting in a net effective contraction of commercial inventory in the US. Commercial credit markets remain very tight with stringent underwriting and large equity investment requirements in the part of borrowers. Most banks and traditional lenders have reduced their exposure to commercial real estate and CMBS mortgages continue to show increasing rates as default. With the current financing constraints, we are not likely to see an increase in commercial construction starts in the near future. Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com