Top Commercial Real Estate Trends in 2022

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As we look back at 2021, the commercial real estate market appears to have turned a corner, thanks to a recovering economy and increasing demand. Activity in all asset classes is increasing, with multifamily and industrial leading the way.

In 2022, the US commercial real estate market is likely to continue to flourish thanks to substantial economic growth and robust demand from both investors and tenants. Investment activity is likely to keep increasing, with ample capital worldwide driving commercial real estate values up as investors search for yield.

Here’s what our internal Crexi data, the Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2022 report by PwC and the Urban Land Institute, and the most recent Commercial Market Insights from the NAR, have to say about the state of commercial real estate today and next year. 

Top US Markets for CRE Investment in 2022

According to Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2022, there will be new opportunities in both urban and suburban markets, with Sun Belt metropolitan areas like Austin, Miami, and Phoenix leading the way. Market rankings are based on critical metrics such as population,employment growth, the cost of doing business, and investor sentiment.

Here are the top 10 markets to watch with the best overall real estate prospects:

  1. Nashville
  2. Raleigh/ Durham
  3. Phoenix
  4. Austin
  5. Tampa/ St. Petersburg
  6. Charlotte
  7. Dallas/ Fort Worth
  8. Atlanta
  9. Seattle
  10. Boston

The Forbes Biz Council recently held a roundtable to discuss shifting forces in the real estate market. Here are some of the top commercial real estate trends for investors to watch in 2022 and beyond:

  • Fractional buying and selling of tokenized real estate may make investing more accessible and lower entry barriers for a new wave of investors.
  • Secondary markets will continue to see commercial districts revitalize, allowing well-positioned investors to capitalize on redevelopment opportunities.
  • Developers are turning to professional third-party representatives who have the resources for executing construction and real estate projects.
  • Mixed-use zoning and adaptive reuse, such as hotels to housing, and offices to mixed-use, will be a source of value-added investments for years to come.
  • Commercial real estate will increasingly become a customer-centric business, with tenants expecting technologies like online platforms to improve the user experience.


Occupancy continues to rise in the multifamily sector, with 1.05 million apartment units absorbed between Q2 2020 and Q4 2021. Strong tenant demand for housing has pushed multifamily vacancy rates down to a US average of 4.6%. 

On Crexi, multifamily was the fastest-selling asset type, with average closing times reaching 123 days on market in Q3 2021. The market will likely see continued, increased demand in the coming year.

Evolving Flex Space Design

More people working from home will spur flex-space design and the greater need for larger living spaces. Apartment communities will see less emphasis on indoor common area amenities and more demand for outdoor living and recreation options.

Interest in Senior Housing Continues to Grow

A variety of housing options for seniors will continue to emerge from the middle market and active adult segments. Similar to how the hotel industry offers variety, senior housing will allow residents to choose the specific service offerings they want and need.

Top Multifamily Markets 2022

  • Inland Empire
  • Raleigh/ Durham
  • Salt Lake City
  • Boise
  • Orange County
  • Charlotte
  • Washington, DC – Northern VA
  • San Antonio
  • Fort Lauderdale
  • Orlando


Absorption of office space remains positive and modest, as return to office schedules are pushed back. Secondary office markets like Austin, Miami, and Salt Lake City are among the metro areas with the highest positive net absorption of office space. 

Work from Home Creates Existential Change

While the final impact of work from home (WFH) and hybrid work models on office space is still unknown, the office market may bifurcate. Office buildings with the best locations and amenities may thrive, while lower-quality office properties may eventually become obsolete. On Crexi in Q3 2021 , we observed increased amounts of office inventory coming online in the same period that the average days on market decreased by 14%.

Sustained Demand for Medical Office Space

Covid-related factors and an aging population will drive demand for health services and medical care office space. Although telehealth usage will likely increase, virtual health services will likely complement the medical office space rather than substitute for in-office doctor visits.

Top Office Markets 2022

  • Nashville
  • Charlotte
  • Denver
  • West Palm Beach
  • Miami
  • Boston
  • Austin
  • Raleigh/ Durham
  • Dallas/ Fort Worth
  • Washington, DC – Northern VA


The upward trend in consumer spending and the easing of pandemic-related restrictions are having a positive effect on the retail market. Cities leading the way with positive absorption over the past 12 months include Houston, Dallas/Fort Worth, Atlanta, and the Inland Empire.

Retail will Continue to Change

E-commerce and BOPIS (buy online, pick up in-store) will continue to force retailers to make physical changes to meet curbside pickup and home delivery demand. Retailers will continue to rationalize by operating fewer stores and more new sales channels like online ordering (or click and collect).

During the pandemic, consumer shopping shifted from malls and high-end retail to mixed-use and neighborhood centers. On Crexi, we observed a noticeable increase in buyer interest in secondary and tertiary markets, with cities like Portland and Austin posting buyer activity gains of 35+% in Q3 2021. 

Another Wave of Store Closings in 2022?

An unprecedented number of government programs supported the consumer throughout the pandemic, helping to generate gains in the retail sector. However, many small regional chains and mom-and-pop tenants are still behind on their rent. If store closings continue to occur, landlords may have the opportunity to exchange non-paying tenants for new retailers.

Top Retail Markets 2022

  • Tampa/ St. Petersburg
  • Raleigh/ Durham
  • San Antonio
  • Fort Lauderdale
  • Jacksonville
  • Charleston
  • Nashville
  • Denver
  • Dallas/ Fort Worth
  • Orlando

Industrial, Distribution & Logistics

Experts expect unprecedented demand and strong fundamental performance of the industrial sector to continue in 2022. Over 475 million square feet of industrial space has been absorbed year-over-year, more than triple the 12-month net absorption before the pandemic. 

Logistics Demand will Outperform

The demand for logistics space is driven by growing e-commerce penetration rates and continued consumer preferences to shop online. Supply chain bottlenecks and rising consumer expectations are forcing logistics users to shift from just-in-time to just-in-case, with a growing focus on supply-chain resiliency.

Users Willing to Pay Higher Rents for Better Buildings

Well-located industrial buildings with modern features will continue to attract premium rent and tenants. Users will continue to look for property that can deploy proper automation to help control costs and offer faster delivery times.

Top Industrial Markets 2022

  • Cincinnati
  • Inland Empire
  • Dallas/ Fort Worth
  • Los Angeles
  • San Diego
  • Salt Lake City
  • Phoenix
  • Denver
  • Seattle
  • Baltimore

Self-Storage will Deliver Record Performance

Non-traditional specialty properties like self storage outperformed during the pandemic and will likely continue to do so in 2022. Homeownership demographics bode well for the future of self-storage, as millennials are starting families and recent college graduates are recruited to cities where living space is at a premium.

Interest in high-quality self-storage units is pushing cap rates below 4% in some submarkets, a trend that investors expect to continue. Institutional investors have an ongoing interest in self-storage properties in gateway markets like New York and the San Francisco Bay Area. In contrast, smaller investor groups and private buyers will likely continue to focus on secondary and tertiary markets.

Final Thoughts on Commercial Real Estate in 2022

As the country recovers from the pandemic, new opportunities and challenges continue to emerge for commercial real estate investors, owners, and operators. 

Demographic and business trends will likely keep accelerating, with multifamily and industrial assets expected to see increasing demand in 2022 and beyond. However, CRE stakeholders can expect to find investment opportunities among all asset classes by knowing where to look.

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Shanti Ryle
Shanti Ryle

Content Marketing Manager

Shanti leads Crexi's content marketing strategies with 7+ years of content development experience, creating everything from blog posts to award-winning podcasts. Previously, she worked on content teams at Snapchat, Weedmaps, and HopSkipDrive as well as developed copy, articles, and media for freelance publications.

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