Roundtable Weekly
Commercial Real Estate Executives Optimistic Despite Challenging Market Conditions
August 11, 2023

August 16, 2023 (WASHINGTON, D.C.) — Industry leaders remain optimistic about future market conditions while acknowledging uncertainty due to interest rate increases, maturing office loans, financing costs, prolonged remote work policies, and labor productivity, according to The Real Estate Roundtable’s Q3 2023 Sentiment Index.

Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer said, “Many maturing loans were financed when base rates were near zero and now need to be refinanced in a challenging environment where rates are much higher, values are lower, and markets are less liquid. Higher rates are also contributing to cyclical pressure on valuations. On top of that, remote work has devastated America’s downtowns and stalled office demand.”

DeBoer added, “The economy has undergone significant transformations due to the pandemic. The realities and challenges we face today requires us to rethink how businesses and people use offices, retail, housing, medical care, and more. Future buildings must accommodate the changes to be successful. The Roundtable will continue to advocate and support measures that boost the availability of credit and enhance the formation of capital in the commercial real estate industry, particularly during these times of market uncertainty.”

The Roundtable’s Economic Sentiment Index—a measure of senior executives’ confidence and expectations about the commercial real estate market environment—is scored on a scale of 1 to 100 by averaging the scores of Current and Future Economic Sentiment Indices.­­­­ Any score over 50 is viewed as positive. ­­­­

The Q3 Sentiment Index topline findings include:

All indices reported increases: The Q3 2023 Real Estate Roundtable Sentiment Index registered an overall score of 46, an increase of five points from the previous quarter. The Current Index registered 33, a six-point increase from Q2 2023, and the Future Index posted a score of 59 points, an increase of four points from the previous quarter.

Disparities between asset classes persist in these challenging market conditions. Hotel and retail markets are largely performing well. Niche asset classes continue to generate interest. On the other hand, office is performing poorly, and rental growth in multifamily and industrial are starting to abate.

Perceptions of declining asset values continue to dominate, with 95% of survey participants reporting that asset values are lower as compared to last year. While Class A properties across all asset classes are trading at competitive prices, managers are still in a “wait and see” mindset for other assets, resulting in lower transaction volumes and an inability to complete accurate valuations.

The availability of capital —both debt and equity—continues to be a pressing topic; 85% and 69% of survey participants, respectively, believe that today’s conditions are more difficult than a year ago. Although managers face a difficult capital raising environment, only 24% and 9% of participants believe debt and equity availability respectively will be worse a year from now as the industry works to creatively solve financing issues.

Data for the Q3 survey was gathered by Chicago-based Ferguson Partners on The Roundtable’s behalf in July. See the full Q3 report.

The Real Estate Roundtable brings together leaders of the nation’s top publicly-held and privately-owned real estate ownership, development, lending and management firms with the leaders of major national real estate trade associations to jointly address key national policy issues relating to real estate and the overall economy.