All About Commercial Real Estate

Florida Office Rents Q1 2020

Class A

Shelter-in-place orders and business interruptions did not occur in Florida until the end of March. As such, 1st quarter rents do not reflect any real impacts from COVID-19. Class A direct rents increased to near record highs in several markets based on confidence in demand pre-COVID. Average rent growth YOY in Florida was 2.7%, and average statewide rents were now 16% higher than previous cycle highs.

On an inflation adjusted basis, statewide rents were off by 5.5% from the previous market highs. For most office markets in Florida, the high point for rent this cycle occurred prior to 2020.

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Owners and occupiers have a unique opportunity to come together, following a handful of operational guiding principles to help navigate the return to the workplace.



Developments are extremely fluid, and tremendous uncertainty remains regarding how broadly the virus will spread and what its ultimate impact will be on public health, economic growth and financial and real estate markets.

All eyes are on the financial markets.

  • The virus is battering China’s economy. The precise impact to the global economy is unknowable, but it’s clearly causing disruptions to certain sectors of the economy.
  • Stocks have tumbled in recent days as the virus spreads to other countries and investors struggle to price in the potential economic fallout and growing downside risk.
  • Central banks are responding aggressively. Odds are increasing that the Federal Open Market Committee will also vote to cut the federal funds rate.

It’s premature to draw strong inferences about the virus’s impact on property markets.

  • Commercial real estate sector is not the stock market. It’s slower moving and the leasing fundamentals don’t swing wildly from day to day. If the virus has a sustained and material impact on the broader economy, it will have feed through impacts on property as well. 
  • The outbreak has also prompted a flight to quality, driving investors into the bond markets, where lower rates are creating more attractive debt/refinance options.
  • If past outbreaks are a useful guide, then COVID-19 should largely be contained by the first half of 2020. Most anticipate a strong rebound in markets in the second half of the year.

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