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  1. Reflecting on 2020 and Projecting on 2021

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    The page has turned on one of the most complicated, volatile and disheartening years in recent history. Families worked hard to maintain their values and moral fabric. Remote learning, hand sanitizer and Zoom calls became societal norms. Businesses diligently pursued creative means to keep their team members employed. Accessorizing with a mask is now commonplace and yet so many unknowns remain. Will businesses survive the continued stress of the pandemic? How will the new president affect the commercial real estate world?

    Closer to home, Mylan recently closed its doors and other businesses could not survive the pandemic. Will we see more businesses closing their doors in our community? The Black Diamond team does not have all the answers but we can provide perspective on what we witnessed in 2020 and what we anticipate in 2021. Take it at face value, considering our regional sample size.

    In February 2020 (pre-pandemic), we were able to enjoy our annual company reward trip to Aruba. Our work family added a key team member, Kim Licciardi, this summer. We took proactive steps to begin the journey of upgrading our process via new CRM (customer relationship management) system. To top it off, we reached many of our 2020 company goals. In 2020, we served a key role in consummating 64 sale and lease transactions. Of the 64 deals, 23 were sales which represents 36% of our business. We continue to gain positive traction in securing and successfully selling investment (income producing) assets.

    We were also successful in other sectors with sale and lease volume in descending order: Office – Investment – Land – Retail – Industrial. 2020 was a challenging but productive year. Certainly 2021 will bring additional challenges, but many positive market opportunities exist. Below is a list of our top 5 commercial real estate predictions for 2021.

    1. Interest in purchasing assets will remain high. Low interest rates, combined with stock market fears created by an 11 year bull run and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic will continue to encourage folks to invest capital into commercial real estate. For some, parking money into an income producing commercial real estate asset is less risky than riding the wave of a stock market that has been on a bull run since the financial crisis of 2009.
    2. More businesses will close their doors permanently. We have not seen the end of the COVID fallout. Many entrepreneurs continue to struggle as government mandated shutdowns have created unprecedented challenges for business owners. Cash will be king in some scenarios as companies look to divest quickly to avoid bankruptcy and negative credit effects.
    3. Growth in government and high tech jobs in the region. Under a new presidential administration, increased government and continued focus on high tech will likely be in play. This will lead to opportunity in many CRE sectors, most notably office, throughout the region.
    4. Flexible lease terms will be more prevalent. COVID-19 has created many challenges including top line and bottom line challenges for many tenants. This will lead to a willingness of landlords to be more flexible with lease terms and conditions in an effort to secure tenancy.
    5. Industrial sector demand will shift. Oil & gas is anticipated to face heightened scrutiny and additional challenges in 2021. Low commodity pricing, combined with anticipated stringent environmental policy (aimed at creating clean energy), will be challenging for some O&G companies while creating opportunity for others. A shift in market demand will predominantly be seen via a focus on distribution warehouse space and industrial space utilized for logistical centers. Some heavy and light manufacturing opportunities will also present themselves in 2021 as our country attempts to bring jobs home. The traditional, average O&G facility, 10,000sf industrial building with ~1,000sf of office on a 2 acre yard, will face lower demand.

    A new year provides the opportunity, even if only mentally, for a fresh start, a renewed sense of optimism. Knowing there are only certain things in life we can control, our team is choosing to move forward with a positive, growth mindset. We hope you will enter 2021 in the same way. Make it a great 2021!

    Click HERE to view our 2020 Q4 Closed Transactions.


    Article written by David Lorenze, Principal.