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Cushman & Wakefield Releases Study Assessing Pandemic Impact on the Residential Sector


Cushman & Wakefield (NYSE: CWK), a leading global real estate services firm, released a new study on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global rental housing market, including rental market rebound rankings and investment recommendations.  

The report identifies five factors that will determine the speed of recovery in rental housing market demand compared to their pre-pandemic path over the next several years by analyzing global gateway markets across each of these factors and then combining them into a single composite model. 

The factors include generational turnover, market dominance vs. competitive markets, risk of homeownership conversion, severity of COVID-19 impact and response and the market’s reliance on international migration for growth.  

“The nature of the pandemic negated the traditional advantages of global urban centers and has some questioning whether residential demand will ever bounce back to pre-pandemic levels. For this study, we examined 27 global gateway markets to assess how these factors impacted the multifamily housing1 market,” said David Bitner, Head of Capital Markets Insights at Cushman & Wakefield. “Then we combined these factors together into a ‘rebound ranking’ score for each city.” 

Global residential impact ranking


Source: Cushman & Wakefield  

Each market was rated on a five-point scale across the eight market performance drivers2 discussed within the report. A higher rating indicates that conditions are more favorable for a rebound in rental market fundamentals and investment compared to the pre-pandemic trend over the next three to five years (see table). 

European markets were most represented among the top 10, followed by U.S. markets. For Asia Pacific, Tokyo and Singapore both ranked within the top 10 for rebound potential. The top markets tend to score particularly highly in capital market liquidity and rental demographics while having relatively low threat from home ownership conversion and new rental supply.  

“Institutional multifamily markets remain relatively immature through much of the Asia Pacific region. Even so, Tokyo and Singapore both ranked within the top 10 for rebound potential.” said Dominic Brown, Head of Insights and Analysis, Asia Pacific at Cushman & Wakefield. “Looking forward, we expect the sector to rapidly expand. This is particularly true of Australian markets where supply is expanding, and demographics are favorable and in China’s faster growing tier 1 markets.”  

Download Cushman & Wakefield’s Global Residential Impact Study for more insights.   


1 Multifamily housing refers to residential apartment buildings that accommodate more than one family or household, where the building is owned in entirety by a single entity.  

2 Eight market performance drivers:

  • Rent Momentum – based on resilience to rental decline during 2020 and ability to rebound post-pandemic. (Greater momentum is more favourable) 
  • Supply Shifts – amount of new supply expected to enter the market. (Lower levels of supply considered more favourable) 
  • Generational Turnover – favourability to renting of a city’s demographic structure. (Higher proportion of people aged 18-35 years is more favourable)  
  • Market Dominance – level of competition from other cities with the country. (Lower competition is more favourable) 
  • Homeownership Conversion Risk – share of renters versus homeowners. (Higher proportion of renters is more favourable)  
  • COVID-19 Recovery – ability to contain COVID-19 and vaccinate population. (Faster recovery through lower deaths and quicker vaccination is more favourable) 
  • International migration reliance – extent of housing demand driven by international migration. (Lower reliance on migration is more favourable) 
  • Capital Market Liquidity – investment volume into multifamily (build-to-rent) assets. (Higher investment volumes are more favourable) 

About Cushman & Wakefield  
Cushman & Wakefield (NYSE: CWK) is a leading global real estate services firm that delivers exceptional value for real estate occupiers and owners. Cushman & Wakefield is among the largest real estate services firms with approximately 50,000 employees in over 400 offices and 60 countries. In 2020, the firm had revenue of $7.8 billion across core services of property, facilities and project management, leasing, capital markets, valuation and other services. To learn more, visit or follow @CushWake on Twitter.  

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