US commercial real estate market showing first signs of a thaw

RETAIL SPACE: Customers sit in the outside dining area of a restaurant in front of an empty storefront displaying a retail space information on Madison Avenue in New York on Sept. 26. Nina Westervelt/Bloomberg  

U.S. commercial real estate deals tumbled in the third quarter as covid-19 continued to hammer the economy, but prices showed signs of improvement, according to Real Capital Analytics Inc.

While investment volume fell 57% from a year earlier, prices climbed 1.4% on average, the research firm said in a report Wednesday. Deals picked up from the previous quarter, exceeding typical seasonal changes.

"Everything is not gloom and doom in the commercial property markets today," analysts led by Senior Vice President Jim Costello said in the report. "Some properties are trading, and not just distressed sales."

Institutional investors including Blackstone Group Inc., Harbor Group International and Brookfield Asset Management Inc., led deal-making during the quarter.

Dallas, Los Angeles and Manhattan were the most active markets in the first three quarters of the year, Real Capital said.

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