COVID-19 has created challenges for the commercial real estate market in the U.S. that have not been seen since the 2008 global financial crisis.
While the 2008 crisis was the direct result of credit and liquidity fiascos, the pandemic has had a direct, powerful impact on the demand for space, put pressures on supply chains, created almost non-existent travel and job losses, and devastated consumer confidence.
As a result, 2020’s CRE marketplace has been characterized by rising vacancy rates in the office sector, delinquent rents in the retail sector, more distress in hospitality, and falling property prices overall, especially in major cities across the country.
But because the pandemic’s impact has varied dramatically across property types in some cases and between urban and suburban markets, there have been some bright spots. For example, industrial, warehouse and suburban multifamily have outperformed expectations as more consumers shopped online and flocked to residential life outside major cities, with an eye toward steering clear of the virus.
Now, the promise of a vaccine in late 2020/early 2021 has the commercial real estate markets on standby, and the recovery is likely to look very different than the one that followed the 2008 financial meltdown. “The financial crisis of 2008 was a very different situation from the COVID-19 crisis. In 2008, there was doom and gloom and little expectation that things would recover quickly.
And then, of course, it was followed by one of the longest bull runs in modern history,” said Josh Herrenkohl, a Senior Managing Director and Leader of Business Transformation Services within the Real Estate Solutions practice at FTI Consulting, based in New York City.