Commercial Real Estate Sales During COVID-19
May 18, 2020
All News

Although commercial real estate sales have plummeted during the COVID-19 pandemic, some assets are still proving valuable to investors across the globe. Which retail assets are still selling during lockdown? Essential businesses.

What’s an “essential” business?

The exact definition of “essential” varies by location, but the Department of Homeland Security issued guidance on the subject in mid-March. Generally speaking, essential businesses include the following: supermarkets and grocery stores; big-box stores; pharmacies; convenience and discount stores; hardware stores; banks; gas stations and auto repair shops; and pet stores, among others.

Nonessential businesses, on the other hand, tend to be recreational in nature and do not provide needed services related to food, health or financial support. Restaurants fall into this category, but many state and local governments have allowed restaurants to remain open for curbside pick-up and delivery service.

What retail assets are selling right now?

The commercial real estate assets that have been most pursued by investors during the COVID-19 pandemic are single-tenant net lease (STNL) properties. Investors seeking a sense of safety in an uncertain economy are pursuing deals that feature a single-tenant property with a tenant that offers an essential service. These assets tend to boast net leases in which the tenant pays for most (if not all) of the property’s operating expenses.

According to data compiled by CoStar, investors have closed deals on more than 300 single-tenant properties since mid-March. These properties have been leased to tenants like CVS Pharmacy, McDonald’s, Burger King, Dollar General and Chick-fil-A.

Is there still a demand for STNL properties?

In short, yes. Net lease sales performed well in 2019, increasing by at least 11 percent to approximately $78 billion. The biggest driver in sales have been those investors engaged in a 1031 exchange. This particular type of transaction allows an investor to defer capital gains taxes by rolling profits from the sale of one property into a similar (or “like-kind”) property. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) extended the 1031 exchange deadline to July 15, 2020.

How can Ground + Space help?

Ground + Space is a leading commercial real estate firm that specializes in single-tenant and retail NNN investments. We have two outstanding “essential retail” assets on the market right now. Our CVS Pharmacy listing features a NN corporate-guaranteed lease that was recently extended by 20 years. The Tire Choice property that is currently available is situated within a dense retail corridor in The Villages, Florida and boasts a NNN lease. Our team is committed to providing up-to-date information and best-in-class services to clients during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. The market changes daily, so please contact one of our brokers for specialized guidance during this time.

How can I stay informed?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers daily updates and other information about COVID-19 symptoms and testing in the United States. Johns Hopkins University (JHU) has created a resource to help inform the public and advance comprehensive understanding of the novel coronavirus and its effects backed by experts in global public health, infectious disease and emergency preparedness. Additionally, the World Health Organization (WHO) continues to track the number and location of confirmed cases of the virus across the globe.

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