Searches for commercial real estate (CRE) dropped in March due to concerns surrounding COVID-19 and its effects on the U.S. economy. However, in May, we released data highlighting a recovery in the popularity of CRE keywords on Google Trends, as well as a corresponding traffic evolution for CommercialCafe listings.
Now, one month later, we decided to revisit these numbers to see whether the trend toward recovery was holding steady. Indeed, not only does updated data show that this trend is continuing, but interest is also approaching pre-crisis levels in terms of searches and — more important — leads. Keep reading for more insights about business and investor interest in commercial properties.
CommercialCafe Traffic Logs 9 Weeks of Persistent Growth Since April
Our previous research into the evolution of traffic for CommercialCafe listings ended in the first week of May. Since then, there have been six weeks of almost-continuous growth in searches for commercial real estate. Although it is still in the single digits, the pace of recovery is noticeably persistent from one week to the other. Notably, the 11% hike between May 31 and June 6 is likely due to a rebound in traffic following a decline in the previous week, which included Memorial Day.
Once again, Google Trends data for CRE keywords confirms CommercialCafe’s numbers and outlines a clear jump in popularity since the slump in mid-March.
Meanwhile, similar evolutions can also be seen for other important search terms. For instance, the popularity of keywords like “commercial real estate” and “commercial property” have climbed significantly and are closing in on pre-crisis levels. That’s even more remarkable given that the first two months of 2020 posted some particularly strong performances for these terms compared to the 12-month average.
Likewise, the number of searches for “office space for rent” has nearly rebounded to the highs it hit in January and February.
Don’t Just Survive – Adapt! How the Industry is Responding to the Aftermath of COVID-19
For our previous study, we surveyed visitors to CommercialCafe.com and our sister company PropertyShark.com between March 27 and May 3 regarding the effect of the pandemic on their CRE searches. The results showed that not only were almost half of the respondents continuing their searches and ready to commit to an office space that would meet their requirements, but that they also expected lease terms to remain largely unchanged in the near future.
Moreover, these prospective tenants weren’t simply browsing listings on our website, either. We also noticed an increase in the number of people contacting brokers through CommercialCafe. These requests for more information about prospective leases or transactions further confirm the market optimism.
And, office renters have good reason to feel optimistic: The coronavirus stimulus package has helped the industry absorb some of the impact of the crisis, and several CRE developers and companies have nimbly and flexibly faced the ongoing changes by proactively implementing new workplace designs and recommended safety precautions. Specifically, in addition to adhering to previously established standards for their buildings, several upcoming office development projects have also upgraded their HVAC systems to improve air circulation and installed touchless doors and elevators, along with other safety measures to prevent the spread of infections.