High Interest Rates and a Recession Will Make 2023 Challenging for CRE

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According to CBRE’s 2023 United States Real Estate Outlook, high interest rates and a recession will make 2023 a challenging year for commercial real estate. Though inflation eased in late 2022, it was still running at more than 7%. The Fed will continue raising rates until it sees a marked reduction in inflation nearer to its 2% target. Weakening fundamentals and higher cost of capital will generally lower asset values.

The recession will not be particularly deep. Corporate finances are in good shape and employers will shun excessive layoffs to avoid losing employees in a tight market for skilled labor. While consumer confidence is highly subdued, average household debt is low compared with the onset of previous recessions. These factors suggest a moderate downturn, with unemployment unlikely to breach the 6% level. Inflation will be significantly lower by the second half of 2023, setting the stage for falling interest rates and the beginning of a new cycle that will last to the 2030s.

Despite economic headwinds, the pace of change will not ease. ESG considerations and the growth of the digital economy will continue to affect real estate demand. Hybrid working offers many benefits for businesses and employees, but companies and the office sector will have to evolve. Cities too will need to adjust to new commuting patterns and reduced office demand. The resurgent retail sector is just now reaping the benefits of a long period of change, which is attracting keen investor interest. Data centers and industrial real estate will probably be the most resilient sectors and the housing shortage will benefit the multifamily sector. The hotel sector’s recovery from pandemic restrictions will continue but life sciences activity, which was turbocharged by COVID, will ease for a while as venture capital becomes scarcer. All sectors in all places will be required by governments, occupiers and investors to make significant decarbonization efforts.

Click here to read more about the major trends that will dominate the year. 

Click here to register for the CBRE 2023 U.S. Real Estate Market Outlook virtual event.

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