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Industry executives take long view on COVID recovery

The coronavirus pandemic is likely to infect the city’s real estate sector well into next year, according to a new survey of C-Suite executives.

Accounting firm Anchin, Block & Anchin’s “The Real Estate’s Return to Normalcy” surveyed executives from asset management, development and real estate investment funds on how they are planning to prepare their properties for reopening and beyond, including steps they are taking to keep employees and tenants safe and healthy, as well as predictions for the future of the real estate industry.

Key findings include that the majority (53 percent) of those surveyed believe that the pandemic will affect the real estate market for at least one year, while 38 percent of respondents believe that there will be a series of rebounds and shutdowns that will move into 2021, and possibly beyond.

Additionally, 73 percent of owners surveyed also believe office tenants will require less square footage in the future, as a result of more employees working remotely.

“The results of this survey are insightful and reinforce the sentiments that we have been hearing from owners since the start of the pandemic,” said Marc Wieder, partner and co-leader of Anchin’s Real Estate Group. “These findings demonstrate the challenges that property owners face across the board and the solutions they are implementing, while preparing for tenants to phase back into their offices.”

“Many owners are reinventing their entire business strategy and implementing modifications throughout their property to ensure the health of all their tenants,” said Robert Gilman, partner and co-leader of Anchin’s Real Estate Group. “Like everyone else, they are navigating the new normal and determining best practices that will enforce safety protocols while optimizing efficiency.”

Other noteworthy findings from the survey revealed:

48 percent of owners surveyed expressed concern that tenants will not return to the office at all

50 percent of respondents agreed that the ideal maximum occupancy levels of offices for return are between 26-50 percent

 Out of those surveyed, most owners expect that they will see a reduction in space from office tenants in the future; 46 percent predict a 10-20 percent decrease, and 42percent predict a 21-40 percent decrease

 Top concerns amongst commercial property owners include: receiving rent from tenants (79 percent), maintaining a clean and safe building (58 perecent), vacancies (58 percent), and elevator capacity/usage (50 percent)

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