Investors Scoop Up Commercial Real Estate

Empty Storefronts in Baltimore
by Will Kessler


Investors flush with cash are looking to buy up commercial real estate properties that developers are putting on the market at deep discounts as companies struggle to pay debts, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Many investment firms are looking to buy up discounted real estate after stacking up cash during the COVID-19 pandemic, including Ares Management, which is buying up 3 million square feet of office space with offers to buy up assets related to $500 million in high-priority property debt, according to the WSJ. Commercial real estate is facing around $2.81 trillion in loans that are set to expire through 2028 at a time when the industry is struggling with low demand and huge debt costs from high interest rates.

“We’re in a period of time where it’s great to have dry powder,” Rich Banjo, co-president of Artemis Real Estate Partners, told the WSJ. Artemis recently closed a $2.2 billion fund at the end of last year that has been buying up discounted properties.

Private-equity firms operating global real estate funds had $544 billion in cash in the second quarter of 2023, up from $457 billion in the fourth quarter of 2022, according to the WSJ. Around $85.8 billion of commercial property was in distress at the end of 2023, up from $56.9 billion at the end of 2022.

Investors in particular are looking at struggling office building owners who have had their profits cut from a widespread shift to remote work that began during the COVID-19 pandemic, lowering office space needs, according to the WSJ. Hotel owners who have failed to keep up with repairs and apartment buildings that are behind on construction schedules due to pandemic-related supply chain shortages and work stoppages have also been targets for investors.

Interest rates for commercial properties are facing upward pressure from hikes to the federal funds rate by the Federal Reserve, which has been placed in a range of 5.25 percent and 5.50 percent, the highest rate in 22 years, in an effort to combat high inflation.

The collapse of top developer China Evergrande Group, prompted by a judge in January, has led to the liquidation of more than $300 billion in liabilities, which could depress global property prices as the firm sells off assets. The increases in the cost of borrowing have resulted in a $1 trillion loss in office property values around the world.

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Will Kessler is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.



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