Contact Us

Industrial Boom Will Continue, Office Investment Will Return In 2021: Colliers Report

Commercial real estate investors are eager to get back into the game, and if the pace of vaccination is able to contain the coronavirus pandemic, they will do so during the second half of 2021, according to a new survey by Colliers International.


The survey found that almost all CRE investors in all parts of the world — 98%, to be exact — expect to expand their portfolios this year, with about 60% of them aiming to expand by more than 10%. Some 23% want to expand by 20% or more.

"The underlying signs of optimism and growth are clear," Colliers President of U.S. Capital Markets and Northeast Region David Amsterdam noted in a statement accompanying the survey.

"Large capital stockpiles have been sitting on the sidelines, creating a recipe for recovery," Amsterdam said. "In the second half of 2021 we expect year-on-year volume gains again, perhaps in the double digits."

Industrial properties will continue to attract a lot of investor interest. Investors in the Americas are most focused on industrial and logistics assets, with around half of the respondents in the U.S. and Canada expecting core industrial properties to appreciate by at least 10% or more in 2021. This partly reflects e-commerce driving demand for industrial space, even as supply is having a hard time keeping up. 

Remote working put a dent in the appetite for office properties, but they remain a priority for investors. In the U.S., there seems to be a shift from traditional centers such as gateway coastal cities to growing markets like Seattle, Denver and Raleigh, North Carolina, the survey found.

Colliers conducted the survey worldwide in November and December 2020, an effort that drew about 300 respondents. The survey included major institutional investors, property companies, private equity funds, sovereign wealth funds, family offices and other third-party money managers.

Integra Realty Resources' 2021 outlook is also relatively optimistic for commercial real estate prospects, agreeing that industrial will retain much of its momentum. In its Viewpoint 2021 publication, the company predicts that, since cap rates and commercial property mortgage rates have remained stable and commercial property transactions were down 50% year-over-year in 2020, risk-adjusted returns for CRE will remain high into 2021. 

Solid industrial performance in 2020 and the anticipated economic improvement later in 2021 ought to coax industrial buyers off the sidelines fairly soon, Integra's report notes.

However, not every sector will recover quickly, or much at all this year, according to Integra. The ballooning growth of e-commerce, accelerated by the pandemic, means that consumers might not utilize in-store shopping in the numbers that they used to.