NEW YORK (AP) — Americans are likely to see more “for rent” signs in the coming months as many businesses devastated by the coronavirus pandemic abandon offices and storefronts and potentially end a long boom in the nation’s commercial real estate market.
Hotels, restaurants and stores that closed in March have seen only a partial return of customers, and many may fail. Commercial landlords have already reported an increase in missed rent payments. They expect vacancies to rise through the end of the year.
Two trends compound the problem: Office tenants are considering renting less space as more employees work from home, and the trend toward online shopping is accelerating, which could cut already weak demand for retail space in downtown areas and malls.
The swift emptying of commercial space marks a sharp departure from the real estate market that boomed in New York, Chicago and other cities in recent