Lisa McNatt, director, market analytics at CoStar, participated in a video interview in conjunction with Nareit’s REITworks: 2022 Conference in La Quinta, California, on Sept. 12-13.
McNatt discussed the REITworks general session that she served as a panelist on, “Economic Outlook for the Real Estate Industry.” She said the overall forecast for the next year appears positive.
“The four primary commercial real estate sectors—office, industrial, multifamily, retail—have had an amazing run since the beginning of the pandemic,” she said. “Americans saved up $5 trillion in pandemic-era savings, and they’re out sending them. So retail is not dead, and the office isn’t going to be dead either.”
McNatt added, though, that Amazon is paring back its plans to occupy office spaces, leaving fewer very large tenants who would be able to take over their former spaces.
“They’re going to have to break that space into smaller chunks [for smaller tenants],” she noted.
Turning to how a company can reimagine its office environment into a place that employees want to return, McNatt said although it’s expensive, safety features like enhanced HEPA filtration and touchless screens are key, as well as adding green elements.
“The other thing that I think a lot of companies need to do is…truly make their office a place of collaboration,” she said, adding that “little things make a difference,” like snacks, fully stocked kitchens, commuter benefits, and other perks and incentives.