October 02, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In NAIOP’s sixth monthly survey tracking the effects of the pandemic on the commercial real estate industry, respondents reported continued gradual improvement in deal activity, but also reported more tenants seeking rent relief, particularly in the office sector.
The survey was completed by 203 NAIOP members between September 15 - 18, 2020. Respondents represent a range of professions, including developers, building owners, building managers, brokers, lenders and investors.
More respondents reported an increase in industrial, office and multifamily deals in September compared to August, continuing a trend toward greater activity. Industrial properties are reported as attracting more deals than other property types, with an uptick in the percentage of reported acquisitions of existing buildings and buildings under construction. More respondents also reported office and multifamily building acquisitions, and both sectors experienced a slight increase in reported new development activity. Deal activity for industrial, office and multifamily properties has improved substantially since April, when nearly half of respondents reported seeing no industrial deals and two-thirds reported no office or multifamily activity.
Office rent collections experienced a minor setback, with only 74.1% of respondents reporting 90%+ on-time collections, vs. 83.4% of respondents in August. Industrial rent collections improved, while multifamily collections remained strong, but largely unchanged since August.
Survey data also suggest that building owners and managers are fielding more requests for rent relief from non-industrial tenants. Office properties experienced the sharpest increase in rent relief requests, with the ratio of respondents reporting requests from more than 10% of their office tenants increasing from 25.4% in August to 37.7% in September.
More building owners appear to be adapting to the duration of the pandemic by offering longer-term rent relief options to tenants. Delaying rent payments and amortizing them over the remainder of the lease remains the most common form of rent assistance, offered by 72.6% of building owners and managers. However, 61.3% of respondents now report offering tenants rent relief in exchange for a longer term (up from 46.0% in August), and 48.1% report offering rent adjustments (up from 34.0% in August).
Respondents are slightly more optimistic about employment at their firms, even though their expectations for the duration of the pandemic’s effects on their business operations have not changed much in recent months. Of those surveyed, 23.2% of respondents expect their firms will add new hires over the next three months, the highest percentage recorded since the survey was first conducted in April. On the other hand, respondents remain almost evenly divided on whether the pandemic will significantly affect their business operations for more than a year, with 46.8% holding this view.
Read the full survey analysis and accompanying charts.
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NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association is the leading organization for developers, owners, investors and related professionals in office, industrial, retail and mixed-use real estate. NAIOP provides unparalleled industry networking and education and advocates for effective legislation on behalf of our members. NAIOP advances responsible, sustainable development that creates jobs and benefits the communities in which our members work and live. For more information, visit naiop.org.
Kathryn Hamilton, NAIOP vice president for marketing and communications
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