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2021 Year-in-Review: CRE's 11 Most Important Stories

From the office sector's repeated setbacks to unprecedented demand for industrial space to climate change's adverse impact on commercial real estate investments, here are some of the most important stories of 2021.

This was supposed to be the year the pandemic ended. The rapid development and distribution of several highly effective vaccines was supposed to bring with it a return to normalcy. Instead, new variants—enabled in part by vaccine hesitance and failure to equitably distribute vaccines globally—brought new waves of cases and deaths and created repeated setbacks. The year ends in the U.S., almost incomprehensibly, with new records in seven-day averages in confirmed cases. And it’s unclear how long the Omicron surge will last both domestically and globally (although indications from nations that were hit first suggest it may, thankfully, be a short wave).

Despite this roller coaster, commercial real estate had a strong 2021. Fundamentals in many property sectors not only fully rebounded from pandemic lows, but some metrics are now better than they were pre-pandemic. Commercial real estate investment volume as well has fully recovered. And the resilience of commercial real estate overall has made it more attractive than ever for investors looking to diversify their portfolios.

In the following gallery we highlight the top stories and topics that dominated our coverage in the past 12 months.

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