A common theme in the media for December was that we lived through a horrible year in 2020 and that 2021 would be better for us all. Perhaps this sentiment will hold by year-end but the start has been chaotic. Conditions might become more distressing for commercial real estate investors throughout the year, a turn of events that some players are hoping to see.
There is a line of thinking around the Covid-19 pandemic that developers can solve some of the problems caused by rising office vacancies in Midtown Manhattan. Developers are capable of amazing feats, but a stabilization of the office market will ultimately depend on a curtailment of the pandemic.
Development site sales were a bright spot for the U.S. market in 2020, with investment activity for the year through November down only 5% from a year earlier, according to Real Capital Analytics data. Who is buying these sites and the reasons why have changed from earlier in the cycle.
Europe’s biggest commercial real estate markets have maintained higher liquidity through the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic than markets in the Americas and Asia Pacific, according to the third quarter 2020 update of the RCA Capital Liquidity Scores.
One of the biggest cross-border stories of 2019 was the outpouring of South Korean capital into Europe and the U.S. Towards the end of last year, there were signs that this trend was reaching its satiation point – asset managers had needed time to digest and syndicate the stakes in their newly acquired real estate assets back home.
In July, after the first full quarter when we saw the global impact of the Covid-19 maelstrom, we studied the drop in global commercial real estate activity with a historical perspective going back to the Global Financial Crisis (GFC). Today, the chart plotting the average weekly deal count for the three global zones reveals more about the decline caused by an extraordinary crisis
The U.S. national rate of commercial property price growth rose in November at the fastest annual clip since the beginning of the pandemic on the back of continued strong industrial and apartment price gains. The US National All-Property Index increased 5.7% from a year ago, the latest RCA CPPI: US summary report shows. In the retail sector meanwhile, the slump in prices deepened.
Dealmaking for Central London offices froze in the second quarter of 2020 with the onset of the pandemic. Only 10 properties changed hands, making it the weakest quarter on record, worse even than the depths of the Global Financial Crisis.
Every recession has a different impact on the performance of commercial real estate. This recession has the unique feature of savaging some sectors while boosting others. Given patterns of distress in the marketplace, the over or under performance of various property sectors in 2020 is likely to persist into 2021.
Into the final weeks of 2020, RCA’s tracking of global commercial real estate activity shows that the Americas region has been worst affected by the Covid-19 pandemic in the year so far.
Market liquidity fell in 118 of 155 global commercial real estate markets in the third quarter of 2020, a widening swathe of liquidity declines than seen in the second quarter of the year, according to the latest update of the RCA Capital Liquidity Scores.
The global rate of commercial property price growth waned in the third quarter of 2020 as transaction activity continued to stumble amid the worldwide health crisis, the latest RCA CPPI Global Cities report shows.
Dallas sits atop U.S. leader board for commercial property deal volume in the first nine months of 2020. Normally Manhattan would occupy the #1 position. Los Angeles has sometimes taken the top spot for shorter periods during times of market disruption in Manhattan, but Dallas has never topped the rankings for an extended period until 2020.
The U.S. national rate of commercial property price growth rose in October as the weight of capital into the high-flying apartment and industrial sectors boosted gains, the latest RCA CPPI: US summary report shows. The US National All-Property Index rose 3.6% from a year ago, the apartment index rose 7.2% and the industrial index 8.5%.
The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated structural trends that were already reshaping the global commercial property investment landscape. One of these trends is the continued shrinking of the investable universe, with a huge chunk of the retail sector now seen as uninvestable.
In the below chart we present the 25 biggest trade routes in Asia Pacific and illustrate how cross-border investment has behaved during this pandemic year. Novel capital flows, such as Austrian investors spending in China and Saudi players investing in Singapore, may be interesting from an anecdotal perspective, but market liquidity is ultimately driven by the most well traveled capital highways.
At the halfway point of 2020 there were a handful of top global metros that posted growth in deal activity versus the first half of 2019. One quarter on and there are no such positives in the list of the world’s largest metros. Seoul returned deal volume close to that of last year, but the market is still just in negative territory.
Total U.S. investment activity improved to some degree in Q3 2020, with sales volume up more relative to Q2 2020 than normal seasonal patterns would suggest. Not so for cross-border investment. Deal volume for cross-border buyers edged lower in the third quarter.
At the end of the third quarter, the count and volume of deals across the three global zones has fallen back even further as the Covid-19 pandemic grinds on. In the Americas, deal volume through the end of September was 41% lower than the same point in 2019, and the deal count 34% lower.