Commercial investments poised to weather COVID-19

by Gerv Tacadena31 Mar 2020

Despite the uncertainties the COVID-19 outbreak is bringing to Canada's economy, the commercial real estate sector is positioned to weather the effects of the pandemic, according to a market expert.

Mark Paterson, vice president at Marcus & Millichap, said that activity in the commercial real estate sector is slated to grow despite the volatile times.

"We're still doing trades. People are buying and selling. Everything is worth less today. But it's more about fear and caution than reality. There are still buyers out there, and there's opportunity," he told Bisnow.

A market study by Marcus & Millichap said commercial real estate offers buyers stability despite the uncertainties. It said that while the COVID-19 outbreak is expected to moderate the economy, some fundamentals remain strong.

"While the coronavirus will weigh on the Canadian economy through the second quarter, a recession is not imminent. Expectations of weaker exports, reduced tourism and supply chain-related shortfalls will moderate the pace of economic growth, but low unemployment and comparatively strong consumption levels should offset the headwinds," the study said.

However, a separate analysis by Vishesh Raisinghani, researcher and representative at MarketCurrents, said commercial property is particularly vulnerable to economic shocks brought about by the spread of COVID-19.

"Unlike residential real estate, commercial properties like factories, retail stores and office units are much more exposed to economic cycles. Commercial property owners and real estate investment trusts already pay higher interest rates for borrowed capital," he said in a commentary for The Motley Fool Canada.

A CBRE report released last month said Canada could potentially break the record for commercial real estate investment this year, hitting the $50bn mark.

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