For several decades, Houston has been considered one of the most successful economies in the southern United States. In fact, and according to Forbes, Houston is the third best place to do business in the country. The city’s bustling and highly diverse economic scene is largely driven by the energy industry, and other important sectors include manufacturing, research and development, aerospace, information technology, and health care.
Being one of the most important corporate centers in North America, the city of Houston is well equipped to accommodate the real estate needs of existing and prospective businesses. This article looks at the most important trends affecting the commercial property market in Houston, having a special focus on the office market.
Key trends and developments in the Houston commercial property market
Generally speaking, over the past five years the Houston commercial real estate market has been characterised by high activity and construction levels and by increasing absorption rates. By the third quarter of 2014, the local market had absorbed 4.4 million square feet of office space, and by the end of the year a further 17.3 million sq ft of space were under development. The vast majority of new office developments were geared towards the needs of the energy sector, having a significant amounts of floor space being built at the city’s ExxonMobil campus and having a large number of pre-lease transactions closed by multinationals like BHP, Shell, and Nobel Energy.
Due to increased demand, citywide rental rates have been steadily climbing, and during 2014 alone they grew by an average 10.6 per cent. Higher increases were evident in commercial properties in the city’s business district. Vacancy rates have decreased from 12.9 per cent in 2013 to 11.9 per cent in 2014. While year-on-year leasing activity levels decreased during 2014, the figures are set to increase once again during the following 12 months. Read the rest of this entry »