Pandemic No Longer Forefront Concern Of CRE Industry As Broader Economic, Global Issues Take Center Stage

In recent days and weeks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has revised its mask guidance, cities and states have removed restrictions, and the White House rolled out a new approach to dealing with the virus.

Return-to-office plans and policies are being disclosed (again) by major companies across the country.

By no means is the pandemic fully in the rearview mirror. While daily case reports have fallen nationally more than 90% from the peak in January, there were just shy of 60,000 cases as of March 1, with 47,560 hospitalized. The potential of another variant is always in play, too.

But the recent shift in tone and policy from government and health agencies like the CDC signals a movement nationally toward getting back to a degree of normalcy. That sentiment is also reflected in recent surveys of the commercial real estate industry.

Chicago-based law firm Seyfarth Shaw LLP, in its annual market-sentiment survey of the commercial real estate industry, found the Omicron variant and continued Covid-19 variants to be fourth among 10 listed concerns for the industry.

“A year ago, it would have come in first, second and third,” said Ron Gart, real estate partner at Seyfarth.

Instead, inflation and rising costs, labor and workforce challenges, and supply-chain challenges rank in the top three, in order, of what the industry is most concerned about in 2022.

Those are much more standard economic concerns than anything related to the pandemic, a global health crisis that’s largely dictated the direction of the economic recovery. Of course, the issues around inflation and the supply chain are ripple effects from the pandemic, but still more manageable than the virus itself.

The survey was taken in January, before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has left the world economy turbulent especially since Feb. 24, when the invasion began.

It’s difficult to discern what impact the war in Ukraine will mean for the U.S. commercial real estate market, although Gart and others noted the recent surge in oil prices could, potentially, have secondary effects on commercial real estate.


Source: SFBJ