Real Estate

U.S. Real Estate Research Quarterly

August 2020 – 8 min read
As businesses and individuals continue to adapt to life in the midst of a pandemic, U.S. real estate sectors and trends continue to evolve. While some changes may be temporary, others will alter the industry and future opportunity set. The Barings Real Estate team weighs in.

Economy

  • The U.S. economy is recovering from the sharp fall in output and increase in job losses caused by the pandemic and containment measures designed to “flatten the curve.”
  • The initial shape of the rebound will be V-like, but the near-term path of the economy and job market remains highly uncertain.
  • Massive fiscal and monetary stimulus is supporting the U.S. and global economies and financial markets for now, but both will likely need continued support.
  • Significant job losses since February will be a headwind to near-term growth, but consumers appear to be tentatively regaining confidence, and getting back to spending more and saving less.
  • Our base case continues to look for a modest bounce back in the second half of the year, followed by more tempered growth in 2021, and a slow and uneven recovery to pre-COVID levels of output and employment.
     

Property Markets

  • The impact of the pandemic is beginning to show up in second quarter property market fundamentals—demand across most property types remains weak, as tenants await further clarity on the near-term and post-pandemic outlook. 
  • Apartment asking rents have fallen and concessions have increased as new supply continues to come online, but occupancies and rent collections have held up better than expected.
  • Warehouse demand remains firm, as e-commerce and omni-channel retailers scoop up modern facilities to support growing online purchases.
  • Office fundamentals have weakened noticeably as leasing came to a halt in the second quarter, while supply continued apace and sublease availability increased.
  • Foot traffic at retail centers is showing tentative signs of recovery, but the steady drumbeat of retailer bankruptcies and store closures underscores the difficult road ahead.
  • Hotel demand has also picked up, as travel restrictions have been lifted and leisure travelers have begun to venture out, but business travel will remain tepid as long as the virus remains a threat.

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Abigail Rosenbaum

Director

TJ Parker, CFA

Managing Director

Ryan LaRue

Director

Ryan Ma, CFA

Managing Director, Barings Real Estate

Philip Conner

Head of U.S. Real Estate Research & Strategy

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