CNBC’s Jim Cramer sounded the alarm about commercial real estate on Tuesday, saying that working from home would be an attractive option even after the coronavirus pandemic is over.
“I see tremendous, tremendous tall office buildings with nobody in them,” Cramer said on “Squawk on the Street.”
The restrictions that governments imposed to slow the spread of the coronavirus forced millions of Americans to work from home and millions others out of work. Even as some states and cities start allowing some businesses to reopen, some companies are considering letting employees work from home for longer.
For example, Facebook said last week that it’s allowing most employees to work from home for the rest of the year.
Health concerns and the ease of working from home will make workers reluctant to return to their offices, Cramer predicted. “If the choice is between going to get yourself some Covid by going to the office and pressing the wrong button with too many people on the elevator, side-to-side, shoulder-to-shoulder with traders, or sitting at home, having a nice breakfast and then going to work. If you can silence the dog, no crying babies, you’re in business.”
Cramer said that this trend will put pressure on commercial real estate companies and possibly the financial sector. “You’re seeing with these real estate investment trusts, with the exception of Simon Property, distress like you wouldn’t believe. And it’s yet to hit the banks.”
The “Mad Money” host also praised work-from-home technology that has proven to be reliable during the pandemic. The sector has been a favorite of investors since the coronavirus spread around the world, with shares of Zoom Video more than doubling this year.