Is now a good time to buy commercial real estate?

The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly caused significant disruptions in numerous industries, including the real estate market. However, some investors believe that now could be an opportune time to invest in commercial real estate. With interest rates remaining low and potential deals arising from distressed properties, cautious investors should weigh the risks against the potential rewards before making any decisions.

Real estate market trends have always been subject to fluctuations, but in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the industry has undergone some unprecedented changes. As the business world struggles to adjust to the new normal, commercial properties have served as a hot topic among investors. While some are wary of the uncertain future, others view this as a prime opportunity to make a lucrative investment. With the current economic climate in mind, the question on everyone’s minds is, “” Let’s delve into the specifics and see what market experts have to say.

1. An overview of the commercial real estate market: Trends and statistics

Commercial real estate refers to any property used for business purposes, such as office buildings, retail spaces, warehouses, and hotels. The market for commercial real estate is an important indicator of the overall health of the economy, as it is tied to job growth and economic activity.

In recent years, the commercial real estate market has experienced steady growth, spurred by a strong economy and low interest rates. According to the National Association of Realtors, commercial real estate sales reached a record high in 2019, with over $500 billion in transactions. The office sector dominated the market, followed by industrial and multifamily properties.

  • Office properties: Office properties remained the most attractive sector for investors, with transaction volumes reaching $191.3 billion in 2019.
  • Industrial properties: Industrial properties are also becoming increasingly popular, fueled by the rise of e-commerce and the demand for warehousing and logistics. Transactions in the sector reached $105.1 billion in 2019.
  • Multifamily properties: Multifamily properties continue to be in demand, as more millennials and baby boomers opt for rental properties over homeownership. Sales in the sector totaled $97.7 billion in 2019.

Overall, the commercial real estate market is expected to continue growing in the coming years, with strong demand for office and industrial properties. However, rising interest rates and economic uncertainty could dampen growth in the short term.

2. Pros and cons of investing in commercial real estate at this time

Investing in commercial real estate can be a lucrative opportunity, but it also comes with its fair share of risks. Here are a few pros and cons to consider:


  • Diversification: Investing in commercial real estate can provide a level of diversification for your portfolio.
  • Passive income: You can generate a steady stream of passive income through rental payments from tenants.
  • Potential for appreciation: Commercial real estate has the potential to appreciate in value over time, allowing you to potentially sell it for a profit later on.
  • Tax benefits: There are numerous tax benefits associated with investing in commercial real estate, including depreciation deductions and the ability to defer capital gains taxes through a 1031 exchange.


  • High costs: Investing in commercial real estate typically requires a significant amount of upfront capital and ongoing expenses, such as property maintenance and management fees.
  • Market fluctuations: Commercial real estate values and rental rates are subject to market fluctuations, which can impact your potential returns.
  • Vacancy risks: If you’re unable to secure tenants for your commercial property, you’ll be responsible for paying mortgage payments and other expenses out of pocket.
  • Limited liquidity: Unlike stocks or bonds, commercial real estate investments can be difficult to sell quickly if you need to access the funds.

3. Key factors to consider before making a commercial real estate purchase

  • Location: The location of a commercial property is crucial to its success. Consider the accessibility, proximity to transportation hubs, and surrounding businesses. The demographic of the area can also be important to the type of business that can thrive in the location.
  • Financial Analysis: In addition to the purchase price, it’s essential to evaluate the potential return on investment. Factors that can influence the financial analysis include the rental market in the area, the condition of the property, and any necessary renovations or repairs.
  • Zoning Regulations: Research the local zoning laws to ensure that the property can be used for your intended purpose. Obtaining zoning variance or special permits can add additional costs and delays to your project.

Other crucial factors to consider include the property’s physical condition, potential environmental concerns, and the overall economic outlook of the area. Thoroughly evaluate each factor to make a well-informed decision on your commercial real estate purchase.

4. The impact of COVID-19 on the commercial real estate market


The COVID-19 pandemic has caused widespread disruption across several sectors of the global economy, and the commercial real estate market is no exception. With businesses struggling to maintain their cash flows and ongoing concerns about social distancing measures, several remarkable outcomes have been witnessed in the commercial real estate market.

  • Increase in property vacancies: As businesses scaled back their operations, many retail stores, hotels, and office spaces were left empty. This forced landlords to reduce the rent and even offer rent-free periods to avoid losing long-term leases. According to CBRE Research, vacancy rates hit at least a 20-year high in several US cities in mid-year 2020.
  • Shifting tenant preferences: The pandemic’s consequence also saw companies and muti-national corporations adopting remote working options. In response, many employees are taking this option, working from home or choosing to stay closer to home. This has led to a growing demand for suburban office towers and properties located near residential areas.

Despite the negative impact of COVID-19 on the commercial real estate market, some property segments have continued to see positive growth. With the rise of e-commerce and home deliveries during the pandemic, there has been a surge in demand for logistics facilities to support the supply chain network. In conclusion, the pandemic has upended the commercial real estate business, and the full impact on the industry will continue to be felt for years to come.

5. Expert opinions and forecasts on the future of commercial real estate investing

Commercial real estate investing is constantly evolving, and keeping up with the latest trends and insights from experts is crucial for success. Here are some top opinions and forecasts about the future of commercial real estate investing:

  • Rising demand for flexible office spaces: As more businesses shift to remote work and freelance style arrangements, the demand for flexible office spaces is expected to rise. Co-working spaces and shared office spaces are already gaining popularity, and this trend is likely to continue in the coming years.
  • Retail spaces to focus on customer experience: As e-commerce continues to grow, traditional brick and mortar retail spaces will have to find ways to attract customers through unique experiences. Retail spaces that offer interactive experiences and immersive environments are expected to thrive.

In addition to these trends, experts predict that technological advancements such as smart buildings and increased use of data analytics will continue to shape the future of commercial real estate investing. It is important for investors to stay on top of these trends and developments in order to make informed decisions and stay ahead of the curve in the industry.

In conclusion, the decision to buy commercial real estate ultimately rests on the individual’s financial status, market conditions, and long-term goals. While the COVID-19 pandemic has introduced a level of uncertainty, it has also created opportunities for those who are able to take advantage of them. As with any investment, thorough research and a sound business plan are crucial. It may be a good time to buy commercial real estate, but it is important to carefully consider all factors and seek professional advice before making any major investment decisions.