Experts speaking at the Illinois REALTORS® Global Symposium Thursday identified several reasons to be optimistic about commercial and residential real estate in 2021.

The following takeaways are just a taste of what seven experts shared:

  • International college students are interested in returning to U.S. colleges and universities in greater numbers for the 2021-22 school year, according to REALTOR® Alex Ruggieri, senior investment advisor for SVN Commercial in Champaign. In addition to vaccinations becoming more plentiful and schools becoming more adept at safety protocols, he cited a survey that showed that 67 percent of students said COVID made no difference to them and 13 percent of students have more interest in coming to the US to study. These figures are good because collectively international students add $1.8 billion annually to the state’s economy, including all campuses. Since 1950, the number of international students in the U.S. grew from 26,000 to 1.1 million in 2020.
  • The number of inbound international investments in Chicago office space is increasing, says Brandon Svec, director of analytics for CoStar Group. Even though office had the steepest decline of all the commercial real estate sectors in 2020, he cited 14 commercial real estate deals of $20 million or more in Illinois. If the American dollar continues to weaken abroad, foreign investors will be further motivated to buy U.S. real estate, he said.
  • Residential real estate sales will increase more in 2021 than they did in 2020, according to Nadia Evangelou, senior economist and director of forecasting for the National Association of REALTORS®. In addition, she predicted the U.S. gross domestic product will increase 5.5 percent in 2021 and 4.2 percent in 2022 as vaccines become more widespread and employment improves.