In a 1031 Exchange? Why Waiting until after COVID-19 to Complete Your Exchange Could Potentially be a Bad Idea

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic the IRS issued Notice 2020-23 which provided a multitude of tax extensions including the extension of the 1031 exchange deadlines. The typical investor in a 1031 exchange will have 45 days from the sale date to identify a replacement property, and 180 days to complete the purchase of that same property. With the IRS’ notice the 45-day, and 180-day deadline has been extended until July 15th 2020 for anyone who originally had their 45th day, or their 180th day fall between April 1, 2020 and July 15th 2020. 

One example of how this could affect someone in a 1031 exchange would be if they had sold their property on April 3, 2020 their 45th day would have been May 18, 2020 and they would have had to formally identify their replacement property by then. Under the new guidelines if they completed their sale on April 3, 2020 they would have until July 15, 2020 to identify a replacement property. 

While the extensions were provided for good reason, the unintended consequence may result in demand for quality exchangeable real estate exceeding the available supply in the first two weeks of July. Alex Madden, Vice President with Kay Properties and Investments explained “The sale of a property often requires many months to complete and we have seen many of those sales move forward during COVID-19, but very few new offerings have come to the market for 1031 exchange investors to use as a replacement property. With exchangers extending their identification and purchase dates until July 15th it is a very real possibility that they may face fierce competition over replacement properties when they do finally need to complete their exchange. I don’t think we have ever had a time in America where every single 1031 exchanger had the same deadline date.” 

Many localities have seen a significant drop in real estate listings since the outbreak of COVID-19 which means there may be less properties available for investors who are in the midst of a 1031 exchange. With less real estate coming to market one potential outcome for affected 1031 exchangers may result in overpaying for a replacement property.

Madden went on to say “We have seen a slowdown in the real estate sector during COVID-19, and a result may potentially be that ‘turn-key’ 1031 exchange solutions like Delaware Statutory Trust offerings (DSTs) could become more scare. 1031 exchange investors may prefer products like the DST as the deadline approaches because the financing, and due-diligence are already in place and it’s possible to complete a purchase in three to five business days typically.”

Many 1031 exchange investors are rightly taking a re-evaluation of the marketplace in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, but with every 1031 exchanger in America facing the exact same deadline on July 15th there is a very real potential for overpayment, deals to fall through, and maybe even failed exchanges for those who wait until the last moment due to inventory running dry.