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  • Halle Smith


Written by: Cade Polter

  • The dreaded recession predicted for 2023 is yet to hit and the sought-after soft landing to avoid recession appears to be on track, with the recent cooling of inflation and stock market surge.

  • The stock market is amidst one of its largest rallies since 2020, the S&P 500 has seen a 7% increase during November. This may provide consumers and firms with the confidence to reinvest into and fill more office spaces.

  • Return to work push continues, but vacancies are still increasing.

  • Home sales are continuing to fall due to high interest rates and low supply. More office transitions into multifamily apartments could continue to make up for lack of housing.

How this Affects Commercial Real Estate and the Columbus Market

The current economic situation is obviously not ideal, but recently it has shown signs of improving with the recent cooling of inflation and stock market surge. The cooling should continue to halt the federal funds rate hikes that have happened throughout 2023. At some point in 2024, the federal funds rate may begin to decrease and allow the economy to start functioning in a more normal state. High interest rates are keeping buyers away from large investments, but a decrease in these rates would encourage investments to ramp up and in part commercial real estate should start back on the uptrend. Columbus is a growing city with many opportunities for advancement, so as the economy settles closer to the norm the real estate sector will reach back to the norm. Booming suburbs such as Dublin and New Albany will continue to thrive with additions such as the Intel plant on the East side. Columbus is home to many mixed-use developments that allow landlords to continually be flexible to meet tenants’ needs.

Our Take on the Topic

Boosting consumer confidence will increase the willingness to invest, but right now investors are holding out because of the risk caused by the inflation problem in the United States. The office sector’s concern is in the growing paradigm of modern business models. Since the pandemic, companies are requiring less time for workers to be in the office to fit workers wishes. The scare that office spaces may never go back to what it used to be is true, but hope is not lost. Companies still need spaces to work, but the type of spaces is drastically changing. Smaller offices with creative open concepts are sought after, but they are not always available. Out-of-date offices, while at a cost, could adapt this new normal and provide these spaces. Office spaces that can adapt may bring the vacancy rates back down to pre-Covid levels, but others will not be worth the transformation. Large cities are seeing this in their downtown areas with completely vacant skyscrapers that were once full.

Sources: U.S. News, FRED Economic Data St. Louis, WSJ, Colliers U.S.

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