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Global survey: Medical and life sciences tenants will spread fastest post-pandemic

Al Urbanski
Cooper University Health Care will be taking over Sears's vacated 165,000-sq.-ft. space at Moorestown Mall in New Jersey.

Stores can expect to see more and more co-tenants from the medical community in the coming years, according to a survey of 179 European and American real estate pros conducted by Duff & Phelps.

One out of five of them said that life sciences and medical real estate tenants would emerge the strongest from the pandemic. Only 1%—one or two respondents from this small sample—thought hotel and hospitality tenants would recover any time soon.

More than three-quarters of respondents said they are more optimistic about the future of real estate than they were at the outset of the pandemic in March 2020. Only 14% still feared a global recession as a by-product of COVID-19 compared to 64% last year and fewer than 10% still felt that the pandemic was the biggest risk facing real estate in their regions.

“COVID-19 has affected the real estate industry greatly but due to the availability of vaccines and the lifting of restrictions, the U.S. real estate market has seen a tremendous upswing in transaction activity in 2021,” said Ross Prindle, managing director and global head of the Real Estate Advisory Group at Duff & Phelps.

But Prindle noted that most transactional growth was related to the acquisition of industrial and logistics properties, and not office, senior housing, or retail properties.

Half of those surveyed expected to encounter little or no impact from the virus in the year ahead. Eight percent said they believed they might see a boost in their property valuations in 2022, though one in five were prepared for negative impacts of up to 5%.

But the leader of the real estate group at Duff & Phelps believes some effects of COVID-19 will remain for some time to come.

“The pandemic has forced us to reconsider our future on a more global level, providing a sobering reminder of our own vulnerability, as well as the power of governments to affect real change to our day-to-day lives,” said John Slade.

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