Pub. 11 2020 Issue 3 18 West Virginia Banker T he COVID-19 crisis has impacted the commercial real estate (“CRE”) market and the greater economy like no other crisis in recent memory. While the West Virginia CRE market has felt the effects, as with many other crises, the West Virginia CRE market has not seen the same level of downturn that has been felt on the national level. Regardless, West Virginia CRE lenders should prepare themselves for significant changes in how business is done in every sector of the CRE market. Being cognizant of what is transpiring with CRE will allow lenders to more accurately anticipate changes in their portfolios and enable them to make better-informed lending decisions. The Overall Impact On a national level, CRE has historically lagged the broader economy by several months in terms of experiencing the effects of a downturn, but a report by Deloitte shows that this pandemic started impacting commercial real estate much sooner. All CRE sectors have felt the effects of COVID-19; owners, brokers and developers have all been adversely affected. Before the pandemic, the CRE industry was in a strong po- sition. Deloitte’s 2020 commercial real estate outlook, which was based on a summer 2019 global survey, found that capital availability was expected to increase in 2020 and that U.S. CRE markets continued to maintain global attractiveness. However, the pandemic caused financial markets to decline sharply, and the CRE industry was immediately affected. Property owners nationally were faced with short-term liquidity issues due to rent relief requested by tenants in in- dustrial, office and retail spaces. Many developers and their timelines have been impacted by a shortage of materials, stay-at-home orders and a lack of PPE. More recently, the pace of construction has been affected by social distancing and cleansing requirements. Sector by Sector With respect to the multifamily market, MarketWatch reported in April that more than half of low-income renters lost their jobs because of the shutdowns. A National Multifamily Housing Council poll found that 31% of renters had not paid their rent in Commercial Real Estate Will Recover By Matthew Kingery, Lewis Glasser