Roundtable Weekly
Rising Interest Rates, Tighter Liquidity, Hybrid Work, and Cost Cutting Reflected in Roundtable’s Q4 Sentiment Index
November 19, 2022
Q4 Sentiment Index chart

The Real Estate Roundtable’s Q4 Economic Sentiment Index dropped to an overall score of 39, five points lower than the previous quarter. Commercial real estate executives cited a reduction in available equity and debt capital, changes in post-pandemic office use, general business cost cutting, and employee layoffs among the contributing factors causing market uncertainty and a decrease in transactions. (News Release and Entire Q4 Report, Nov. 18)

Roundtable ViewJeffrey DeBoer Real Estate Roundtable

  • Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer, above, said, “Industry executives report that asset valuation difficulties, coupled with the tightened availability and cost of capital, have caused a slowdown in commercial real estate investment and overall transactions. This situation, magnified by steep inflation and interest rate hikes, is leading to investor hesitancy. Additionally, while some businesses are instituting greater return-to-the-workplace policies, many are not, partially due to employee reluctance. Ultimately, greater clarity on businesses’ future post-pandemic workspace demands is needed to provide a more reliable window into asset valuations, particularly in the office sector.”

  • “As an industry, we’re working with tenants to provide attractive building safety and use amenities—and where possible, converting underutilized property types to other uses, including housing. We continue to urge policymakers and business leaders to push for the safe return of workers to their shared, physical workspace. A back-to-the-workplace movement would increase overall economic productivity and competitiveness, help preserve urban small businesses, and lower the threat to the property tax base of municipalities throughout the nation,” DeBoer added.

  • 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.

  • Although the Q4 Overall Index registered an Overall score of 39, the Current Index registered 29—a nine-point drop from Q3 2022—and the Future Index posted a score of 48 points, a dip of three points from the previous quarter. (Download Q4 report, Nov. 18)

Market Perspectives

RXR's Scott Rechler on CNBC's Squawk on the Street
  • The return of office workers to buildings in New York, Boston, Atlanta, San Francisco and other cities is languishing well below pre-pandemic levels as hybrid work, layoffs and higher interest rates act as drags on the office market, according to a Nov. 17 New York Times article. Despite the headwinds, office owners believe demand will eventually return.

  • Roundtable Chairman Emeritus (2015-2018) William Rudin (Co-Chairman & CEO, Rudin Management Company, Inc.) noted in the article that occupancy was much higher at buildings occupied by financial companies, many of which have required employees to return to the workplace.

  • The impact of layoffs, macroeconomic trends, and office demand were discussed this week by Roundtable Board Member Scott Rechler (Chairman CEO, RXR), above, in a CNBC Squawk on the Street interview. Rechler, a member of the New York Fed, said he expects the next 12 to 18 months will be "choppy" as the Federal Reserve continues to fight inflation, but that a strong economy will emerge with significant growth potential.

Economic conditions and commercial real estate markets will be discussed during The Roundtable’s Jan. 24-25 State of the Industry in Washington.

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