Commercial real estate executives recognize the various challenges in the current market as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, while remaining optimistic about future market conditions, according to The Real Estate Roundtable’s Q3 2020 Economic Sentiment Survey released today. The report emphasizes the importance for developing, testing, and distributing a vaccine in the coming months in order for market conditions to show further improvements.
“As our Q3 index shows, commercial real estate markets continue to suffer from the effects that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on businesses and residential tenants,” said Real Estate Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer. “Hospitality, senior housing, and retail commercial real estate tenants in particular are struggling currently, as are CMBS loan pools consisting of these asset types. Other commercial real estate sectors, notably office and multifamily, also are facing challenges related to the overall economic hit from the health care crisis and are very cautious in their activities. However, generally balanced CRE market conditions and responsible leverage prior to the crisis positions the industry to stabilize and move forward positively once a vaccine is available,” DeBoer added.
The Roundtable’s Q3 2020 Sentiment Index registered at 42 – a four point increase from the previous quarter. [The Overall Index is scored on a scale of 1 to 100 by averaging Current and Future Indices; any score over 50 is viewed as positive]. This quarter’s Current Conditions Index of 21 increased eight points from the previous quarter, while this quarter’s Future Conditions Index of 63, is an increase of one point compared to last quarter, and a 13-point increase compared to Q1 2020.
The report’s Topline Findings include:
- The Q3 2020 Real Estate Roundtable Sentiment Index registered a score of 42, an increase of four points from the second quarter of 2020. Many respondents expressed optimism about future market conditions as they feel current market conditions are the result of the COVID-19 pandemic, as opposed to poor underlying market fundamentals. However, until a vaccine or treatment is released and the general populace regains its confidence, responders felt the market would stay in its current challenged state.
- Survey responders expect a challenging market for at least the next six to nine months while a vaccine is created, tested, and distributed. Assuming a vaccine is released, most responders assume the market will be in recovery by this time next year.
- Transaction volume has been down since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in most markets. Anticipated asset price discounts for most property types have yet to materialize as property owners are not willing to capitulate to market pressures if they can keep hold of their assets until a post-vaccine market.
- Many responders described the capital markets as open, but challenging to access. Construction and permanent financing options have increased since the beginning of the pandemic, but are still selective, relative to the projects they will finance. Institutional equity has continued to enter the market where it has an existing relationship with a manager; otherwise, investors are reluctant to enter the market at this time.
DeBoer noted, “While a vaccine continues to be explored, it is imperative that Congress and the Administration soon come to an agreement on the next round of COVID-19 relief. Extending added unemployment benefits, additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), and a rental assistance program to help impacted people as well as struggling small businesses is needed. Moreover, property owners, hospitals, schools and others need liability protection against frivolous lawsuits and businesses need assistance as they seek to cover new and unusual expenses related to safety and cleaning protocols.”
Data for the Q3 survey was gathered by Chicago-based FPL Associates on The Roundtable’s behalf.