Global commercial real estate (CRE) investment volume fell by 31% year-over-year in Q1 2021. A strong rebound is expected in the second half of the year on the back of economic recovery and widespread COVID-19 vaccinations.
The pandemic has affected global investment markets to varying degrees. APAC led the global investment recovery in Q1. Markets like Tokyo, Seoul and Beijing showed resilience throughout the pandemic. Markets in North America, led by Los Angeles, Boston and Dallas, have recovered rapidly, while European markets lagged due to COVID resurgences.
Industrial property investment remained strong in all three global regions. Hotel investment gained traction in the U.S. as prices dropped and distressed sales came to market. Core office and retail assets held up well in Asia Pacific.
Yield spread between property and bond narrowed based on rising bond yields across global markets. Global industrial yield continued to compress driven by strong market fundamentals and demand. Office yield remained stable in Q1 but showed signs of expansion in the U.S. Retail yield edged higher driven by softness in Europe.
Real estate total return remained positive in 2020 thanks to a stable income return. Many investors are turning to opportunistic and distressed investment in 2021 for higher returns. Greater emphasis is placed on tenant credit and rent roll growth under the influence of the pandemic.