North Commercial NT – A Candid COVID-19 Update

 

At the start of 2020 there was an air of optimism that we had seen the bottom of the economic and property cycles and that we would see improvement in the property market through the course of the year. This was supported by increased enquiry levels and general business activity.

This all came to a screeching holt at the end of march when COVID-19 came to our shores and the various government restrictions began to be imposed and we started to see how this was going to impact various businesses. One thing that has continued to intrigue me is the varying degrees to which different businesses and industries have been affected by this phenomenon and in turn how respective organisations have reacted.

Tenants and landlords have also been uniquely affected depending on their individual circumstances and exposures, by and large we have been impressed by both the professionalism and sympathy that have been demonstrated on both sides of the property equation. Generally we have seen mutual respect and a common desire to see struggling entities survive the disruption of COVID-19.

As the restrictions progressively eased through May and June and things began returning to normal we saw a sharp increase in commercial property activity; this included requirements that had been placed on hold at the start of the activity restrictions but also new requirements that had come about from businesses forced to adapt. A typical driver in tenant requirements was to consolidate or condense their operation and it was also common for businesses to seek cost savings.

We still consider the majority of businesses are behaving cautiously so in the property context this translates to an aversion to long term commitments and careful cash flow management BUT we are also seeing an appetite to get back to business and to evolve where required to operate in an environment that is different than prior to COVID-19.