Commercial Real Estate Trends For 2020  on

5 key areas that will shape the new year and beyond

A television commentator recently claimed that 2020 isn’t a year. He did say, tongue-in-cheek, that it’s the name of a news show on a competing network. He also said it’s a word that defines hindsight and perfect vision—but not a year.

In commercial real estate (CRE), though, hindsight and vision are essential to determine the trends and cycles that will define the industry in 2020 (which is, indeed a year).

It’s no wonder, then, that as the calendar page has turned to a new year and a new decade, so many experts have offered their insights on the shape of things to come. Here are 5 of the top things that may be on the horizon:

1. Will the economy continue to expand?

At the moment, the United States is in the midst of its longest expansion in history. While there are national issues (constant talk of an approaching recession, a looming Presidential election and an impeachment process, and a slowing down of GDP) and global issues (Brexit and the potential for war), the steady strength of an expanding economy is expected to continue.

This could further expand job growth and consumer confidence. And, according to CBRE, these factors and Federal interest rate cuts are expected to have a positive impact on continued CRE growth.

2. Changing demographics

Just about everything that could be said about Baby Boomers (aging) and Millennials (blamed for just about everything) has been said, but it’s still worth noting that both generations will continue to have an impact on all real estate sectors. At the same time, Generation Z and a yet-to-be-named generation will also start to exert their influence on the CRE marketplace.

CRE opportunities are expected to meet the needs of longer life expectancies among Boomers and steady population growth that has already outpaced Japan and is expected to surge past Europe. Ground Zero for many of these projects will be seen in the Sunbelt states.

3. Property trends

A word often repeated in many of the 2020 predictions is “steady.” In other words, trends, especially as they relate to properties, will follow the same path seen in recent years:

  • E-commerce growth and competition will continue to steer the industrial and warehouse sectors.
  • Co-living and co-working trends, especially in urban markets, are creating greater consumer demand for flexibility and fluidity in those sectors.
  • Alternative properties, such as data centers and self-storage, will continue to grow.
  • Don’t be quick to ring the death knell for brick-and-mortar properties. While some sectors, such as retail chains, are struggling to keep doors open (thanks to e-commerce, by the way), others are in great demand. Among these are premium and necessity retailers, restaurants, and grocery and drug stores.

4. Due diligence and data continue to take center stage, in new ways

No matter if a CRE transaction involves a single party or a group, and no matter if a CRE project is small or grand, there are risks. As a result, due diligence is a must—and that simple fact cannot be stressed enough, particularly as we move into 2020 and beyond.

A key tool aiding due diligence is the gathering and use of data in all areas—from the state of a building’s operating systems today and how they are expected to perform tomorrow, to funding issues and the impact of climate change on specific properties in specific locations. And this last item is expected to become a larger one as we move into this decade.

What hasn’t changed and won’t? A well-informed CRE deal is still far likelier to be a strong one.

5. Digitization

At the start of the 21st century, most people in the developed world were terrified of Y2K and the potential collapse of the global economy. Twenty years later, globalization, urbanization, a changing workforce, AI, and the IoT have transformed CRE. That’s why the findings of Deloitte’s recent survey of 750 CRE executives in 10 countries are so interesting.

While most respondents rated tenant experience as a top priority, the majority had not truly addressed the digital tenant experience. To that end, expect investors, owners, managers, and landlords to embark on a smart building, mobile app odyssey to meet tenant demands while improving efficiency and performance.

2020 trends that work for SoFlo

When you look at these trends through a South Florida lens, the region appears to be headed in the right direction. As a Sunbelt state, Florida has already witnessed an increase in population, a building boom, and an embrace of co-living and co-working environments.

At the same time, there are large tracts of industrial and warehouse spaces, as well as climate-change-mitigation technologies that are being incorporated into new construction and retrofits. To learn more about these trends and what Morris Southeast Group can do for you in the coming year and beyond, call us at 954.474.1776. You can also reach Ken Morris directly at 954.240.4400 or via email at


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