May 27, 2020 - 0 Comments - Trends -

Charts: Commercial Property Inquiries Rebounding from COVID-19 Decline

Almost to the minute I posted about how commercial property inquiries had gone over a cliff, noting it as worthy of duh-chuckle categorization, inquiries began to rebound. This one could go in the category of “Whuuut?”

As I mentioned in that prior post, if you know me, you know I’m a data hound. I collect and manipulate data, including various types of selling activity, manually logged as a matter of habit, consistently imperfect. One is commercial property inquiries. These dropped off to near zero with COVID-19, no huge surprise. What is somewhat surprising, however, is that they’ve, at least for the moment, seemingly completely rebounded. To be sure, an inquiry isn’t a transaction, but is isn’t nothing either. Thus, this development is welcome.

The chart above shows the 20-day moving average of new commercial property inquiries. This is the sum of various kinds of new inquiries, which in actuality I track more specifically. The year had started off with a bang, as can be seen, which is more a culmination of my efforts over time than a statement of market conditions. Once coronavirus hit, however, this metric went into a dive, with the 20-day average dropping to about 10% of what it was pre-COVID. Since then, however, it has recovered to about the same as the average for the prior year. Go figure.

This second chart is exactly the same data, but with 2020 plotted over 2019 to compare period versus period. The red is 2020, which one can clearly see has of a sudden exceeded levels in 2019. The year of 2020 had been considerably stronger for me in this area, thus this isn’t really a fair comparison for 2019, but with coronavirus having such a negative effect otherwise it is nonetheless a welcome sight.

What do I make of this? I’d mentioned in the prior post that it seems safe to assume there will be some post-pandemic increase in inquires. I’m reasonably certain that is not what this is. Instead, this is likely a rebound to half or so of what this would have looked like absent COVID-19. Regardless, hey, I’ll take it at this point. As this very moment, it likely doesn’t mean much. It does mean there is room for optimism. I only hope that extends to everyone and all things. Here’s hoping.

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