Main Content

Impact of the pandemic on the commercial real estate market

Retail space

It can’t be denied that the COVID-19 pandemic really did drastically change every aspect of our lives. The commercial real estate market is no different. It has been forced to change how it operates in order to adapt to the complexities of the new normal.

From embracing virtual house tours to putting more emphasis on public health and safety, here are some ways that the commercial real estate market changed in response to the pandemic:

The shift to digital

One of the major changes that real estate professionals experienced during the pandemic was the industry’s abrupt shift to online and digital marketing.

The internet has never before been more crucial to the real estate industry. Real estate companies that delayed upgrading or setting up their websites scrambled to do so to remain relevant. As lockdowns ensued, open houses dwindled. By the time the pandemic hit its peak, touring a home or a commercial property for sale meant firing up gadgets.

Remote viewings or virtual tours allowed buyers and sellers to check out commercial properties in real time using a smartphone and a video conferencing app, or on-demand using a professionally shot and edited video.

Aside from hosting virtual tours, real estate professionals and brokerages started adding more features to their professional websites to help draw in more clients. These features include detailed 3D space renderings, floor plans, and advanced search filters.

While these technologies and features already existed before the pandemic, their usage increased as brokers realized the value of continuing to show homes even in the virtual realm. Buyers and sellers were just as eager to embrace the technology as they looked to upgrade their homes or relocate elsewhere.

Social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and of late, TikTok, were tapped more and more to market real estate properties and services, often to unexpected, glowing results.

The focus on safety and ventilation

The pandemic brought increased focus on how establishments deal with issues regarding sanitation and ventilation.

Those who represent renovated or newly built commercial properties can emphasize state-of-the-art ventilation and sanitation features such as indoor air filtration and touchless technologies. They can also point to layouts that make the properties conducive to remote gatherings or even socially distanced in-person meetings.

In contrast, older properties with traditional features like communal lounges, dining spaces, and indoor meeting rooms are being reimagined as residential housing units, biotechnology labs, or co-working spaces for teams who are still unsure of when their companies are going to call them back for in-person work.

This emphasis on safety and personal health is also apparent in the way real estate professionals conduct their in-person meetings and other interactions, such as property tours.

For instance, a property tour must be coordinated first with the building’s owners and its property management team in accordance with both state and CDC guidelines. The tour must also follow a pre-determined and clearly marked path, in order to ensure maximum protection for all parties involved.

The rise of warehouses and storage facilities

While the commercial real estate market was undoubtedly hit hard by the pandemic, some of its sectors still managed to sustain their activity and growth. These include warehouses for e-commerce ventures, self-storage facilities, and retail spaces such as grocery stores and pharmacies.

Thus, there is growing interest in investing in these types of properties – a prospect that is likely to fuel the commercial real estate market in the years to come.

Not only that, but the low-interest rates offered by banks and lenders, as well as the public’s newfound sunny and optimistic outlook about the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, are all helping to paint a brighter picture for many potential commercial real estate investors.

Given the market’s steady rebound, investing in commercial properties such as West Chester, PA commercial real estate is an endeavor that promises potential rewards. It just requires you to think about future possibilities, whether they involve renovation, conversion, or zeroing in on sectors that promise the highest yields. Think, too, of the tax benefits that come with commercial properties.

If you wish to view your options, browse commercial real estate properties in West Chester, Downingtown, Main Line, Chadds Ford, Phoenixville, and the communities of Great Valley.

RE/MAX Direct is dedicated to providing top-quality service to its clients from Chester County, PA. You can get in touch with the RE/MAX DIRECT team by calling us at 610.430.8100, or by sending us an email at remaxdirectwc(at)gmail(dotted)com. You can also drop your message here.