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NAI Global President & CEO Jay Olshonsky, SIOR, Shines a Light on the Trends and Future of Global Commercial Real Estate

Market Trends & Analysis Investments Office

The following article is sponsored by NAI Global.

NAI Global’s President and CEO Jay Olshonsky, SIOR, FRICS, CCIM, is seeing rays of sunlight peeking through the clouds after the storm. When asked about the state of commercial real estate (CRE) in Europe in an episode of the podcast, “How’s Biz?”, Olshonsky mentioned that he had recently traveled to England and France, where he observed business and tourist districts that were even busier than New York — indicative of a larger trend of the tourism industry in European countries making a recovery.

However, Olshonsky notes that the amount of uncertainty driven by the conflicts in the Middle East and Ukraine is negatively impacting business decisions on a global scale, similarly to CRE market conditions in the U.S.

This is backed up by the findings of NAI Global’s 2024 Market Facts & Trends report, a useful guide to economic conditions and an overview of CRE conditions in all of the markets covered by the 170+ independently owned and operated NAI Member Firms. The report touches on each region and main industry sectors throughout the U.S., plus 35 international markets served by the NAI Global network.

The report shows that U.S. and global economies are experiencing a confluence of challenges — a period marked by post-pandemic hyper-inflation (and the resulting restrictive monetary policies), the disruption and restoration of supply chains, onshoring, nearshoring, and wars in multiple regions. And yet, despite the common reference to the fact that CRE transactions are about half of what they were before and even during the pandemic years, world economies are adjusting and businesses are operating. And generating positive, albeit modest, GDP numbers across the globe.

For example, Mexico’s recent GDP was 3.0%. Peru’s projected annual growth rate is 2.40%. Growth in Europe is constrained, by contrast, by persistent inflation and war in Ukraine, among other issues. By way of example, its largest economy, Germany, is expected to grow by only 0.8% this year.

That’s more or less on par with the U.S., which experienced 2.8% GDP in 2023 but with the economy slowed by Federal Reserve, is expected to come in below average at 0.7% this year.

Olshonsky spoke about how foreign investors, often a stalwart in U.S. property investment when prices soften, will start to return to the U.S. market now that we’ve begun to see some stabilization to pricing and price discovery. “Yet they usually prefer more conservative asset classes and assets themselves, looking for a predictable and reliable return on investment — even modest returns, versus riskier, value-add investment opportunities that really require a lot of boots-on-the-ground to execute on,” Olshonsky said.

Olshonsky also touched on the biggest thorn in CRE’s side these days — the office market. He declared that “New York is on sale” and pointed to the lack of net new jobs that require in-person office work as the underlying problem with this sector. Even artificial intelligence — considered to be a point of optimism for greater office demand, will not be enough to fill the empty offices we have. Once the more sought-after trophy and Class A spaces are filled up, Olshonsky sees the empty Class B spaces taking their spotlight.

“This is a cycle. It will change, like they always do. There’s going to be opportunities, and some pain,” he said.

The office market’s woes were also referenced in the Market Facts & Trends report, finding that malaise runs deep throughout the office market. The industrial, retail, multifamily and hospitality sectors are doing reasonably well, as are specialized real estate niches, including self-storage, cold storage, mixed-use, medical office and flex, or coworking spaces, notwithstanding WeWork’s unfolding and as-yet-determined fate as a large office space operating company.

Within NAI Global, Olshonsky and the Member Firms are particularly well-versed at finding swaths of sunshine.

Olshonsky named property management as an area for stability and growth, emphasizing the significance of partnering NAI Global’s Capital Markets team with local property managers to offer building owners comprehensive services that can add value to most assets. NAI Global also recently added a new member in Vietnam where growth in manufacturing is expected and is adapting to nearshoring trends through a massive expansion in the Caribbean and collaboration between firms in the U.S. and Mexico.

“My projection going forward is get used to where we are, stop thinking it’s going back, stop thinking that if more people go back to the office, it will not solve the problem…it’s about adapting the new environment that we’re in.”

Another storm will always come, and the conditions and terrain will invariably be different, but Olshonsky is confident you can weather it as long as you know where to stand and how to adapt.

Discover more insights in the full 2024 Market Facts & Trends report and listen to the full podcast episode with Jay Olshonsky.




Jay Olshonsky, SIOR, has been the President and CEO of NAI Global since December 2012, leading the company's operations and the NAI Global Capital Markets Group. Under his leadership, NAI Global expanded globally and consistently generates over $20 billion in annual transactions. Previously, Jay spent 15 years at CBRE in Washington DC, earning recognition as one of The Best Bosses in Commercial Real Estate by in 2020.



Gary |

NAI Global

NAI Global

NAI Global is a leading global commercial real estate brokerage firm. NAI Global offices are leaders in their local markets and work in unison to provide clients with exceptional solutions to their commercial real estate needs. NAI Global has more than 325 offices strategically located throughout North America, Latin America, Europe, Africa and Asia Pacific, with over 5,800 local market professionals, managing in excess of 1.1 billion square feet of property and facilities. Annually, NAI Global completes in excess of $20 billion in commercial real estate transactions throughout the world.