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01 Feb2022

CORFAC Survey Reveals Optimistic Outlook for 2022

Survey says: 2021 momentum will keep rolling through 2022. CORFAC’s independent real estate professional members were asked in a member survey at the end of last year to evaluate their markets and expectations for the six months ahead. Resoundingly, members have a bright outlook, and despite some continued uncertainty in the marketplace, are tapping into new opportunities and network referrals to keep deals closing. 

“We’re thrilled to see positive momentum across our membership and plenty of opportunities yet to come in a capital-rich environment,” said Mason L. Capitani, SIOR, Principal of L. Mason Capitani/CORFAC International in Detroit, MI, and 2022 President of CORFAC International. “We’re especially focused on continuing to strengthen the connections between our firms that led to the increase in cross-network deals and referrals in 2021.”

Signs Pointing Up for Deal Activity

When asked about deal activity at the end of 2021, one in three CORFAC members say their transaction activity had increased significantly over midyear. Another 35% said it increased slightly. 

New business is coming from a strong mix of sources, including new customers entering the market (70%); current customers that are expanding (63%); business won from a competitor (33%); and referrals from other CORFAC members (20%). Multiple CORFAC brokers also mentioned an exodus of companies leaving coastal regions for inland opportunities.

Marketplace Defined by Change 

Thanks to 18 months of massive pandemic-driven changes in the workforce, the majority of CORFAC members (56%) selected office as the CRE sector they thought would change the most in 2022. Many CORFAC members expect that companies will bring back more professional workers as COVID infections decrease in number and severity.

However, with more flexible policies towards remote work sticking around, companies may find that they still need to right-size their office space to reflect the true number of in-person employees on a given day. Other firms might look for new spaces or renovations that better address hybrid work or offer amenities to entice and retain employees. So, while investors may be reticent about the office class, leasing activity should be robust for brokers. 

CORFAC members were also asked about issues more broadly affecting CRE. About 42% of members identified supply chain delays as a top issue affecting the industry, and 31% pointed to labor shortages affecting their clients’ businesses. These issues are not unique to the real estate industry, but create pricing and timing pressure for developments and redevelopments and delays in companies making decisions about office or warehouse space needs. Also weighing on members’ minds: Inflation and concern about the future of tax laws related to 1031 exchanges for investment properties.  

Why CORFAC Members Are Optimistic

In spite of the concerns revealed by the survey, many CORFAC members are putting the pandemic in the rear view and focusing on the road ahead. The top causes for optimism in 2022 include: more workers returning to offices (61%); growth of ecommerce fueling industrial deals (48%); and COVID-19 impacts decreasing in their market (46%). 

The overall business outlook was also optimistic, with 81% of members responding that the sentiment in their markets was somewhat or very positive. Members pointed out that businesses that have fared well the last two years are now in a position to expand. The glut of liquidity in the marketplace also bodes well for deal activity. 

As companies look to long-term planning again, their real estate needs – whether expansion, moving to an inland market, or changing their office footprint – will be part of their strategy. CORFAC brokers are eager to help clients take advantage of the opportunities in the mid-Atlantic market.  



Patricia True Agos

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