It wasn’t a big increase, but during a year that saw the worst crash since the Great Depression, the local commercial real estate market posted a small 2020 transactions gain.

There were 361 commercial sales and leases - one more than during 2019, according to the Northeast Tennessee Association of Realtors (NETAR) Commercial Transactions Report.

“Vacant land, office, and industrial deals continued as market leaders and balanced the slump in retail-commercial and shopping center activity,” Cassie Petzoldt, chair of the NETAR Commercial Committee, said. Last year was also the continuation of a trend that saw more deals for less money, she added.

There were 37 more listings on NETAR’s Commercial Multiple Listing Service (CMLS) and the regional Multiple Listing Service’s (MLS) during December than last year for a 4.8 percent year-over-year growth rate.

Fewer monthly average listings in each of the CMLS commercial sectors last year than in 2019 was the norm for last year. Flex does not categorize its listing. There were 76 fewer Flex commercial listings in December than December 2019.

Web traffic for CMLS was down by 15 percent in December. At the same time, one-on-one inquiries continued to increase. According to local commercial Realtors. There has also been an increase in activity – especially in Kingsport restaurant venues - from New York and California investors.

The 2021 outlook for commercial real estate is for continued activity in the land, office, and industrial sectors. There hasn’t been much new construction for these properties, so relocation to accommodate post-pandemic business and renovations are big factors.

Warehousing should also be a high-interest sector as the e-commercial firms continue to improve their last-mile infrastructure.

Local retail could also see improvement as the Covid-19 vaccine effect helps open up the economy and the savings consumers have stashed away. Retail continues to reinvent itself, which makes the retail-commercial and shopping center sectors question marks. Commercial-retail had the second-highest 2020 transaction levels, but there were 20 fewer of them during 2019.

Shopping center listings followed the same pattern. The sector had the third-highest total transaction level. Still, the annual total was down by six when compared to the previous year.