How Could Coronavirus Impact Boston Commercial Real Estate?

With over 100,000 people infected with COVID-19, also known as Coronavirus, there’s widespread concern about how the illness can affect our everyday lives. And while the threat of the virus may have you sanitizing your workspace more thoroughly than ever, we also have to consider the effects it may have on Boston’s thriving commercial real estate industry.

Workplace Policy

When it comes to protecting their employees, large companies like Twitter, Google, Apple, and Facebook are hoping to prevent spreading the virus by implementing plans that restrict nonessential travel and cancel large meetings and events. They’re also changing how business is taken care of on a daily basis, advising some employees to work from home to prevent any contact with those who could have been exposed. Naturally, employees who exhibit acute respiratory illness are advised to stay home, and to only return to the office once they’ve been symptom-free for 24 hours. Anyone who has symptoms, has traveled to an area affected by the virus, or has been in proximity to someone who may have the virus is advised to quarantine themselves at home, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Changing Timeframes

COVID-19 could significantly affect the industry because of the wrench it may throw in construction timetables. Delivery of raw materials and supplies, many of which originate from China, may be held up in their arrival to the United States. The biggest concern is supply chain issues — steel, millwork, plumbing fixtures, electrical fixtures, drywall, and flooring tiles are a few key examples of building components that could be affected by supply chain issues related to the virus. In addition to the delayed arrival of supplies, the higher cost of using alternative supply sources will also put a dent in the pockets of developers. However, experts say this may not take place immediately, instead affecting construction that’s supposed to take place in future months.

Preventative Measures

While COVID-19 has already made its way to the United States, the CRE industry is looking to prevent the spread of the virus through a variety of methods. Several major commercial real estate conferences have been postponed, and property owners and managers are consistently advised to make sanitizing their offices and workspaces a priority by placing new hand-sanitizer dispensers throughout buildings and increasing cleanup efforts. In fact, coworking firms like WeWork and Knotel are already providing additional cleaning services in their workspaces, The Real Deal reports.

Reasonable Vigilance

While plenty of people are concerned about the spread of Coronavirus, keep in mind that common sense is the best method to preventing disastrous effects. When in doubt, take a cue from the CDC, and follow their guidelines for prevention in the commercial real estate industry and beyond.

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