Counselors Unveil Top Ten Issues Affecting Real Estate®

Political unrest/global economic health, office occupancy and valuations, housing shortage and artificial intelligence (AI) among key issues shaping real estate’s near future

CHICAGO (October 2, 2023) — The Counselors of Real Estate®, a global organization of commercial property advisors, today released its annual report on the Top Ten Issues Affecting Real Estate® for the upcoming year. Since 2012, the report has identified the current and emerging issues Counselors expect to have the most significant influence on real estate. As the real estate industry faces an extraordinary era of unpredictability, the effect of political unrest and global economic health is the leading concern of the 1,000-member organization in its 2024 report, with office occupancy and valuations, the housing shortage and artificial intelligence (AI) rounding out the top four issues.

“The Counselors of Real Estate proactively recognizes crucial themes so we can pinpoint trends and note their evolution and subsequent bearing on real estate,” said William McCarthy, CRE®, global chair of The Counselors of Real Estate. “This past year has been challenging for some and opportunistic for others as the economy, office market, and artificial intelligence continue to evolve and impact the market.  Additionally, the housing shortage and infrastructure issues proceed to cause disruption.”

“This next year will be crucial to real estate with the upcoming election at the local, regional and national level,” said McCarthy. “All eyes are on the future as we navigate these disruptions with a purpose for developing solutions and a better understanding of how the issues may impact and change the many professional disciplines in commercial real estate.”

2024 Top Ten Issues Affecting Real Estate®

  1. What’s This World Coming To?:  Political Unrest & Global Economic Health – In a market where there is no shortage of geopolitical, economic and real estate market risks, there is some definite reshuffling of issues that are top of mind in 2023 and heading into 2024.
  2. Do I Have To Go To The Office?:  Occupiers, Obsolescence and Devaluation – The future of what hybrid work looks like is still playing out with themes of flexibility, agility, productivity and space reduction. What is clear is that the pandemic created permanent shifts in where work is done that is taking a toll on both the office sector and central business districts.
  3. There’s No Place Like Home:  Global Housing Shortage – People need to live somewhere. It’s a basic necessity, and frankly, a simple concept that drives significant investment into all types of for-sale and for-rent residential real estate. Solving the nation’s housing shortage is not so simple.
  4. How Intelligent Is It?:  Artificial Intelligence – This powerful new technology comes at a time when there is an incredible need to measure things accurately. Access to real-time data is more and more critical to investors in a dynamic market as they decide what properties they want to acquire, exit or hold.
  5. Where Have All The Workers Gone?:  Labor Shortage – Everyone, everywhere, in nearly every sector is reporting that it is difficult to find skilled, willing and able workers. Layering on top of the worker shortage are a series of trends that are changing requirements for both workers and employers.
  6. Population Shock:  Migration – Although that great migration shift has been fueled by the pandemic and remote work, the fundamental driver behind that shift is simple affordability.
  7. Real Estate Armageddon:  Economy, Interest rates and Inflation – The recent era of “free money” ended abruptly following a blistering pace of Fed rate hikes. The federal funds rate is now at its highest level since 2007, and owners, investors and developers across the commercial real estate market are feeling the effects of higher capital costs.
  8. Alexa, Where’s My Stuff?:  Supply Chain, Logistics and U.S. Onshoring – Container ships that stacked up outside of the California coastline during the pandemic galvanized action to build more resilient, efficient supply chains, which for many, was already underway.
  9. The Price is…Wrong?:  Pricing Reset – Basic math tells us that if the cost of capital increases, cap rates and property values should decrease. However, the pricing reset the market has been waiting for has been slow to materialize given the freeze in the transaction market with few reliable comps.
  10. London Bridge is Falling Down:  Infrastructure – The problems and staggering costs to repair and upgrade America’s aging infrastructure are well documented. The topic of infrastructure tends to start with the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), which has been handing out sub-par grades in the C and D range for the past 20 years (with an overall grade of a C- in its most recent 2021 report card).