Among the many impacts on the sector were delays in rent and mortgage payments, as well as store closures. In June 2020, the delinquency rate of retail real estate mortgages rose to 18 percent, the second highest after the hotel sector. In the first five months of the year, announced retail space closures in the United States measured 76.5 million square feet, two-thirds of all closures in the whole of 2019. Another impact was felt through rising vacancies. Between the first and the second quarter of 2020, retail vacancy rates doubled, reaching 20 percent. Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) in the sector registered year-to-date return on equity (RoE) of -25.2 percent, the lowest among all types of commercial real estate. Nevertheless, these figures do not fully explain the different trends within individual retail sectors. For example, consumers redirected spending from food services to the grocery sector. Another winning sector was furniture and home improvement that benefitted from people undertaking various projects at home.
In 2020, the value of commercial real estate transactions decreased overall, but retail property transactions doubled, reaching over 29 billion U.S. dollars, or approximately seven percent of all commercial real estate transactions. The ten leading metropolitan areas attracted close to 13 billion U.S. dollars in retail real estate investments with the top three (Greater New York, Greater Los Angeles, and San Francisco Bay Area) drawing investments worth over 9.8 billion U.S. dollars. In terms of the number of deals that took place during the year, the leading markets were Los Angeles, Chicago, and Dallas.