Companies are selling their real estate at the fastest pace ever as they shore up their balance sheets battered by the COVID-19 pandemic, Bloomberg reported.
Broker Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. reported sales of corporate properties in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa at 27 billion euros or $32 billion.
This was slightly higher than 2019’s 26.8 billion euros in sales, even as overall real estate transactions fell amid the pandemic.
A number of the sales involved leaseback agreements which allow firms to access capital while maintaining their offices. Property sellers include retailers John Lewis Partnership Plc and Matalan.
JLL Head of Corporate Markets for EMEA Nick Compton said companies are ditching property to preserve capital and release liquidity. This is also to reshape portfolios to support business plans post-COVID-19.
Over a third of corporate sales were office properties, with volumes up 10% from the previous year. All types of commercial real estate sales in Europe slipped 27% in 2020.