CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly
December 08, 2019
Forward Thinking

Commercial real estate market set to continue growth trend in 2020

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Market outlook calls for growth in retail, industrial, and logistics sectors, CBRE 2020 report shows.

The U.S. economy is expected to sustain its long expansion in 2020, and the commercial real estate market will follow suit, according to a forecast from real estate services firm CBRE, released Wednesday.

In its 2020 Real Estate Market Outlook, CBRE said it expects "tempered growth" in the U.S. commercial real estate market next year due to uncertainty over trade negotiations, weakness in the manufacturing sector, and the upcoming presidential election season. Investment volume should be on par with last two years, CBRE said—between $478 billion and $502 billion—making it one of the strongest years on record.

"Next year will bring deceleration on a few fronts, but this still is an expanding economy and a flourishing property market benefiting from a robust job market, solid consumer confidence, and low interest rates," Richard Barkham, CBRE's global chief economist and head of Americas research, said in a statement announcing the 2020 report. "We'll see resilience across asset classes such as office, retail, and multifamily as demand continues to buoy those sectors. And we see transaction volumes and capitalization rates staying relatively stable."

CBRE pointed to growth in retail, industrial, and logistics markets among the six real estate sectors evaluated in the report. On the retail side, the researchers say rents and net absorption are likely to post small gains due to a relative dearth of new retail construction. They also pointed to the conversion of malls into mixed-use complexes as a growing trend in the year ahead. 

On the industrial and logistics side, the researchers said it will be tough to sustain the sector's 38 consecutive quarters of positive net absorption next year, as vacancies remain tight. Supply is expected to outpace demand by 20 million to 30 million square feet, CBRE said, and the vacancy rate should remain near historic lows. Rents are expected to increase an average 5% in 2020, they said. The growth of e-commerce and an increased focus on outsourcing to third-party logistics providers will contribute to a shift in the sector.

"Overall, the market will remain stable as e-commerce penetration continues to impact supply chains. As operations become more complex for occupiers, there will be a heightened focus on outsourcing, paving the way for growth in the third-party logistics (3PL) sector."

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