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Commercial Real Estate
Business Observer Friday, May 15, 2020 2 years ago

Worst. Weeks. Ever

Commercial property sales volume drops off stemming from COVID-19
by: Kevin McQuaid Commercial Real Estate Editor

Ok, it may be an exaggeration to call it the “worst weeks ever,” but the month of April has to rank pretty close for commercial real estate sales along the Gulf Coast.

Even in boom-and-bust, more-prone-than-most-to-cycles Florida, the past month offered little to write home (or just write) about.

Consider: For the first week of the month, the nine-county region that comprises the Gulf Coast -- Polk, Pasco, Hillsborough, Pinellas, Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, Lee and Collier counties – generated $38.98 million in combined commercial property transactions involving sales of $1 million or above, according to county property records.

In all, there were 14 transactions that met the dollar figure criteria. Neither Lee nor Pasco counties, however, had any sales of $1 million or more recorded that week.

Of the total, the largest sale that week occurred in Polk County, involving land on Parkway Frontage Road North, in Lakeland. It sold for $10.8 million, records indicate.

By comparison, the same period in 2019 saw 17 transactions of $1 million or more in the same nine-county region.

Taken together, those deals generated a collective $148.9 million, according to county property record sites.

Year-over-year, that represents a 282% drop in overall sales volume. And even if the two largest sales of early April 2019 were removed – the $36.8 million purchase of an office building in the Carillon section of St. Petersburg and a $30 million deal for an apartment complex in Valrico – the decline would still be staggering, at 111%.

The same holds true for the total number of deals in most markets for the entire month of April, according to commercial real estate research firm CoStar Group.

Tampa’s deal volume shrank to 50 last month, from an average of 170 in each of the first three months of this year, a decline of 70%.

Sarasota fared even worse, with deal volume evaporating by roughly 80% to about a dozen sales, down from 60 in January, February and March, and Fort Myers split the difference with a 76% drop, from 50 to 12, CoStar notes.

Here’s hoping that British poet T.S. Eliot was right about April being the cruelest month.



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