COVID-19 Trends of the Week: Aug. 24-28

K replaces V in the recovery alphabet. When will office tenants return? Industrial draws more investors. These are the trends that shaped coronavirus coverage this week.
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While leaving rates untouched, the Fed adjusted its strategy this week for achieving its longer-run inflation goal of 2 percent, stating that it is targeting an “average of 2 percent over time.” According to the Fed, “following periods when inflation has been running persistently below 2 percent, appropriate monetary policy will likely aim to achieve inflation moderately above 2 percent for some time.”

1. Office landlords are missing their tenants, and many workers miss the office.

Office property landlords are anxious to hear the sounds of many footsteps in their lobbies once again, but scores of corporations are putting off their return dates. Others are reluctant to set a date. What accounts for the delay? Office redesigns are required in many cases, while some corporations are waiting for schools to resume a normal schedule and or for a vaccine to be approved and distributed. Many CEOs have confirmed that office space will be an important part of their future, and some of the big tech firms are signing new mega leases. But, with so many companies pledging that work-from-home will be an ongoing part of the routine, it remains to be seen how they will use the space.

Many Companies Planned to Reopen Offices After Labor Day. With Coronavirus Still Around, They’re Rethinking That
WorldNewJ/Wall Street Journal

Younger Workers Want Office Return More Than Older Ones: Surveys
Commercial Observer

GM, Ford return-to-office dates months away
The Detroit News

JPMorgan will have staff cycle between office and remote work in a move that may remake Wall Street

2. As e-commerce grows, more investors head for industrial real estate.

With e-commerce booming, it’s no surprise the bulk of new real estate investment activity can be found in the industrial sector. Both Goldman Sachs and PGIM made major purchases this week despite a report from NAIOP that overall absorption in the sector will suffer due to the declining U.S. economy. Of course, the report finds, the properties that will suffer the most are those that are not equipped to serve e-commerce businesses. 

Industrial Real Estate Faces Short-Term Decline in NAIOP Report
Commercial Property Executive

Goldman Sachs invests in US last-mile logistics via Elion Partners
IPE Real Assets

Crow Holdings Announces Sale of One of the Largest Industrial Portfolios Since Onset of COVID-19

3. Economy will be a drag on real estate markets for some time, experts say.

During the great recession, it was the real estate industry that brought the economy down. Today, it is the other way around. The real estate property and capital markets are relatively sound, but the coronavirus-stricken economy will delay a rebound for some time. Instead of a U-shaped recovery, economists are now referring to an uneven, K-shaped comeback.

Real Estate Market Crash Unlikely, Experts Say
Commercial Property Executive

The K-Shaped US Economic Recovery Theory and What It Means for CRE

Pandemic Sends Commercial Real Estate on a Roller Coaster Ride 
REBusiness Online