NY commercial real estate market battered by COVID-19

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began many office buildings in New York City have been vacant as businesses were forced to scramble to adapt to stay afloat.

But the city's real estate market is also struggling to keep its head above water as the pandemic drags on.

"You have tenants that, depending on whether they're in an office, retail or residential, they're either not renewing, not paying and there's nothing that can be done to stop that blood loss," said Chris Varjan, a commercial real estate broker.

Property owners still have to pay their loans and according to Forbes, the rate of commercial mortgage-backed securities loans going into "special servicing," which is the most troubled type of loan, jumped by more than 7% in one year.

"In general it brings more liquidity and more capital into the market. It does have a potential downside as we saw in 2008 when the securitized home mortgage market collapsed and dragged the economy with it," said Rick McGahey, an economist.

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McGahey says the impact the stagnant commercial real estate market is having on New York City's economy is inescapable from top to bottom

"Particularly minority workers in NYC. A lot of people work in restaurants, in building services, cleaning, security guards and those people have been hit the hardest in the pandemic," McGahey said.

However, many believe there is some light at the end of the tunnel. As more and more New Yorkers get vaccinated, more companies will consider returning to office buildings.