Life companies have returned to the fold after waiting out the bulk of 2020 through the uncertainty of the pandemic. Making up for inactivity last year, these lenders are aggressively pursuing qualifying properties—emphasis on qualifying. Targeted deals look a lot different post-pandemic.

It might not surprise anyone following the CRE trends that multifamily and industrial are the top targets for life company allocations. Even retail deals with grocery and other daily-needs retailers are moving forward in the current market. "While indoor malls continue to be a casualty of the modern era, outdoor lifestyle centers with the right destination retail in place are also getting interest from multiple lenders," Robert Slatt, a principal with Gantry's San Francisco office, tells GlobeSt.com.

Self-storage assets are also a target for life companies. "Self-storage assets have emerged in recent years as a prime candidate for life company financing, and we are seeing more and more deals done for this asset class that once struggled to find its place due to underwriting, sub-par location realities and operative challenges to stabilization," adds Slatt.

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Kelsi Maree Borland

Kelsi Maree Borland is a freelance journalist and magazine writer based in Los Angeles, California. For more than 5 years, she has extensively reported on the commercial real estate industry, covering major deals across all commercial asset classes, investment strategy and capital markets trends, market commentary, economic trends and new technologies disrupting and revolutionizing the industry. Her work appears daily on GlobeSt.com and regularly in Real Estate Forum Magazine. As a magazine writer, she covers lifestyle and travel trends. Her work has appeared in Angeleno, Los Angeles Magazine, Travel and Leisure and more.