Written by President and CEO of Kentwood Real Estate, Gretchen Rosenberg
Our Kentwood Commercial team of brokers is often asked what they see on the horizon for commercial real estate (CRE) and whether the sector across-the-board suffered pandemic woes.
In actuality, CRE is many sectors, not one. Commercial office sales and leasing are quite different from industrial and warehouse, retail and mixed-use are nothing like multifamily. If we unpack the variety of sectors in Colorado’s real estate markets, we can use the past 14-months to plan for the future.
Leading indicators are what drive behavior change and business results. The leading indicators of the Work from Home adaptations we’ve made over the past year are impacting both the housing and commercial office markets. Many businesses are planning to retain a hybrid model but are committed to being back in their offices by third quarter 2021 in some form. This will benefit office, but the sector still lags in other areas of CRE. Companies are looking for ways to consolidate and shrink their office footprint, and in metro Denver we have hundreds of thousands of square feet on the sublease market. Dr. Michael Sklarz wrote about the intersection of rising housing prices with office lease rates due to the WFH trend in a recent blog post.
CRE appears to outsiders to be a clinical, analytics driven area of real estate. In many ways, that’s true. However, human behavior and consumer behavior have a large influence over many CRE sectors. Retail and hospitality has been impacted in an outsized way by the pandemic and the business owners are re-imagining how their businesses will look going forward, and how their real estate needs will be changing as a result. Corporations are reconsidering the open floor plan “hoteling” model that came into fashion over the last decade. Some managers like that model even more as they move to a hybrid work from home format, others like it less as they wrestle with how to keep their employees safe in an office environment.
The industrial and warehouse sectors are thriving. Internet shopping is driving a need for fulfillment and storage which is driving demand for warehouses. This is a trend that picked up steam over the past year and should remain strong as we move into 2022 and beyond.
Commercial real estate is thriving in Colorado for many owners and landlords. Others are still struggling – multifamily owners are impacted by eviction moratoriums, strip malls with family-owned restaurants and shops hope tenants reinvigorate as society opens back up, large office buildings aren’t clearing vacancy rates at the planned for velocity. The best way to stay informed about CRE is to speak with brokers who know all aspects of the business. Kentwood Commercial brokers are seasoned professionals who stand ready to help.