What to Expect From the Impact of COVID-19 on the South Florida Office Market

April 24, 2020

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The COVID-19 pandemic has thrust the world into a monumental public health crisis. Local, regional and national governments are racing to slow the spread of the virus and protect human life. The response has included widespread restrictions on mobility and personal interaction, resulting in severe constraints on commerce and economic activity. A global recession appears inevitable.

With dire warnings about potential loss of life, the immediate focus is on shoring up the health-care system to treat the sick and on taking actions to limit the spread of the virus. Local and state governments likely will maintain tight restrictions on mobility, including prohibiting workplace access for most of the region’s workforce. For its part, the South Florida real estate community is taking steps to maintain safety in the workplace and to support the healthcare and public sectors by providing supplies and spaces to combat the crisis.

Measuring potential impacts on the South Florida real estate market remains somewhat nebulous, relying on predictive modeling and the wait-and-see approach.  The hotel, cruise line, and retail sectors, which employ a considerable share of residents, are expected to experience significant disruption. CBRE and others forecast heavy job losses and more than 30% contraction of U.S. GDP in Q2 2020. But a strong recovery is expected to kick in during the second half of 2020, as the impact of a massive government stimulus package helps revive consumer spending and return businesses to healthy footing.