By Christine Graf
Unlike the residential real estate market which has boomed during the COVID-19 pandemic, the commercial real estate market has experienced a significant decline, according to those in the industry.
The demand for commercial space has been impacted by pandemic-related business closures and the changing demographic of the workforce. According to a Gallup poll, 72 percent of white-collar workers were still working remotely in May 2021.
Many companies are expected to switch to a hybrid model or to allow employees to continue working exclusively from home after the pandemic ends. If this happens, the demand for commercial office space could drop significantly.
The pandemic also led to a dramatic increase in Ecommerce, which was already a threat to brick and mortar retailers who now fear that consumer behaviors that changed during the pandemic may become permanent. A record number of stores closed in the U.S. in 2020 leaving 159 million square feet of retail space vacant.
Despite these concerns, Howard Denison, associate broker at DeMarsh Real Estate in Glens Falls, said the local commercial real estate is rebounding after being “under the weather” for the past year.
He has been working in real estate for 31 years and attributes much of the recovery to the Route 9 sewer project in Moreau. The addition of a municipal sewer system in the town’s commercial corridor is expected to lead to development and economic growth in area where growth had stagnated.