Did the Economic Slowdown (as a Result of COVID-19) Actually Impact CRE Positively?

Succinctly, of course not. However, one may argue that the COVID-19 pandemic did create an opportunity for the CRE (Commercial Real Estate) market to generate innovative opportunities for at least this coming year. Some of the opportunities are lessons carried from 2020, when we saw CRE begin to show signs of gradual recovery before returning [Forbes Real Estate Council]. John D’Angelo, Deloitte Consulting’s U.S. Real Estate Leader agreed that at least a few emerging CRE trends will contribute to a recovery in 2021.

Firstly, global CRE Corporations are researching how to attack the following:

• Continuously evolving behavioral trends post COVID-19
• Establishing more secure building spaces
• Optimal efficiency
• Improving in recognizing challenges, vulnerabilities, and risks at the early portfolio level

CRE Corporations especially should be working extra hard to familiarize themselves with the results of this research as these are important trends that will likely impact the CRE market as a whole. Those who understand these trends will be able to provide their clients a better experience with access to this knowledge and, therefore, result in steady sales.

Secondly (and in fact surprisingly), due to the pandemic, lockdowns have led more companies to have their employees working from home. While it may seem like there would be no use for office space in 2021, there are actually several opportunities in the CRE market for commercial offices that were not there before. Vacancies in high-traffic areas make this the perfect time for commercial owners who are looking to expand.

While many businesses are still waiting to bring their employees back to the office, there are undoubtedly several good reasons for having an office in a post-COVID environment. In an office, employees have more space to work collaboratively, increasing cooperation and efficiency. CRE owners and investors would be wise to acknowledge the fact that even during the pandemic, there are still business owners out there looking for affordable office space and certainly have this in mind as they make their investment decisions this year.

Finally, when it comes to e-commerce, an already growing sector prior to 2020, boomed during the pandemic [Forbes Real Estate Council]. In response, retail stores and third-party logistics businesses are not only growing or optimizing their fulfillment center footprints, but many of them are also switching from a “just-in-time” inventory model, to a “just-in-case” approach as they aim to prevent the shortages of goods encountered throughout 2020. As this trend continues, many online shops nationwide will need to lease a warehouse for their growing businesses. This will certainly lead to a steady increase in leasing opportunities in the CRE market that both owners and investors should take advantage of.