Adapting to Shifts in 2024 Real Estate Investment Landscape
January 3, 2024
The landscape of commercial real estate investment encountered substantial hurdles in 2023. Challenges such as sluggish rent growth, reduced transaction volume, and the emergence of potential debt-related distress impacted the industry. Looking ahead, the year 2024 presents a fresh array of opportunities and challenges, heavily influenced by two primary factors: interest rates and debt-related stress.
Impact of Interest Rates
Projections from numerous experts indicate an expected decline in interest rates throughout 2024, building on the optimism stemming from the Federal Reserve’s December 2023 meeting. The latest Summary of Economic Projections by the Fed disclosed that all but two of 19 Federal Reserve officials foresee a reduction in interest rates over the upcoming year, with most anticipating three rate cuts in 2024.
The potential stabilization or decrease in interest rates is poised to widen the scope of opportunities in commercial real estate investments. However, the exact extent of this decline remains uncertain. Real estate investors should proactively identify and seize key opportunities, bearing in mind the heightened competition expected as those who were on the sidelines in 2023 gear up to re-enter the market.
Addressing Debt-Related Stress
One of the pivotal challenges – and yet, an arena brimming with potential opportunities – revolves around debt-related stress. Sellers may find themselves pressured to recapitalize or exit the market during unfavorable times. While the challenge of securing financing primarily plagues office landlords, debt-related stress spans across the commercial real estate sector. According to Fortune, distressed commercial real estate in the U.S. neared a value of $80 billion in the third quarter of 2023, marking its highest point in a decade. As an illustration, the owner of Illinois’ largest mall, Woodfield Mall, recently committed $89 million towards refinancing, witnessing a significant drop in its value over the past decade by approximately one-third.
Prospering amidst these conditions necessitates offering viable solutions to lenders and owners grappling with distress. Foreclosure sales might offer opportunities to extract value from distressed office buildings, albeit with sellers potentially required to present substantial equity.
Another strategic avenue for owners involves contemplating the conversion of distressed properties from their current use. While office-to-residential conversions receive ample attention, executing such plans demands substantial capital and an opportune market. Repurposing buildings for alternative desired uses could also yield beneficial outcomes. For instance, a vacant building previously housing a Chili’s restaurant and sports bar in the Chicago suburbs was recently repurposed into a cannabis dispensary.
Surviving and thriving amidst these challenging market conditions demands persistence, creativity, and caution. A client recently highlighted the significance of patience and prudence in devising 2024 strategies.
At LP’s Real Estate Group, we stand ready to navigate you through these market challenges. Please reach out should you have any queries or require guidance.