There can be little doubt that 2020 was a watershed year for commercial real estate; in the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is unlikely that the work culture of the United States will ever be the same again. To wit, the concept of work-from-home as a functional business strategy went from the stuff of fantasy to reality in the space of only a few months last year. Anyone in the field of commercial real estate must be aware of this change to plan for the future.
Moving With the Curve
With that being said, there are a few things to consider when analyzing market changes in real estate in 2021. Firstly, expect rent costs to fall in areas such as Silicon Valley and New York City. These areas are still major centers for tech and investment companies; however, locations such as these are seeing mass exoduses of workers who favor home offices to office buildings. If you want to get a foothold in these areas, however, now is a great time to find a bargain.
Real Estate Hot Spots
Secondly, investors should be aware of real estate “hot spots” currently emerging around the country. These are regions where real estate investing is extraordinarily competitive and by extension extraordinarily profitable. Austin, Texas made headlines in 2020 after entrepreneurs like Elon Musk announced that they were moving their corporate operations to this up-and-coming city. Expect a boom in real estate prices in Austin in coming years as Texas becomes a haven for big tech companies keen to take advantage of the state’s generous tax policies.
Other “hot” cities include but are not limited to:
- Portland, Oregon
- Birmingham, Alabama
- Boulder, Colorado
- Louisville, Kentucky
- Missoula, Montana
- Atlanta, Georgia
- Boise, Idaho
Most importantly, however, real estate aficionados should know that the work-from-home trend doesn’t apply equally to every industry across the board. Tech companies employ armies of computer science grads to perform important coding work; certainly, for the most part, it is not necessary for these workers to stay in office buildings to complete their tasks. Consequently, tech real estate may see remarkable changes in the next five years.
Playing Against Type
Despite a shift towards work-from-home thinking in the tech world, however, there is still a lot of office-based work that needs to be done across a variety of industries. For example, most doctor appointments still need to be completed in person; real estate space for healthcare clinics will almost certainly be in very high demand in coming years. The same principle holds for sectors of the economy related to lab work and wholesale supply chains.
To wit, there is still life in the commercial real estate market yet. It is true that investors will need to stay on their toes in coming years as America transitions to a new stage of work culture; however, the benefits will be numerous for investors who can adapt to changing times and changing business needs.