Overview of USA Office Market
During 2016, the USA office market was marked by a climate of cautious optimism and moderate growth across the board. This was mostly evident in office rental rates, which increased by a modest 0.1 per cent or even declined in cities like Chicago, New York, Washington and San Francisco. This was coupled with a slow-down in leasing activity, as net absorption rates only reached 6.5 million square feet during the last quarter of 2016. The bulk of lease transactions consisted of small and medium-sized office properties, and the total number of leases exceeding 500,000 dropped by 43 per cent.
Key market indicators (such as take-up, vacancy, and availability rates) were linked to the performance of those industry sectors that make up for the bulk of office occupiers in the USA. 2016 saw a tightening of the labor market in the tech sector, driving vacancy rates down to break the 10 per cent barrier for the first time. This offset the relative stagnation in activity coming from occupiers involved in financial services, legal, and government.
Important figures that reveal the market’s performance during 2016 included:
– A total inventory in excess of 137 million square feet
– Total vacancy rates of 16.9 per cent
– Annual net absorption above 1.1 million square feet
– Nationwide average asking rates $23.91
– Office space under construction 4.9 million square feet, of which 53.7 per cent is already pre-leased
USA Office Market by City
Mid-sized markets were among the best performers in the year that has just ended. Portland, Nashville, Salt Lake City, and San Antonio were characterized by occupancy increases that averaged 3 per cent. In San Francisco, market indicators were also positive despite the fact that occupancy growth levels dropped from 2.9 to 1.1 per cent. Other regional office markets that did well included Austin, Silicon Valley, and Seattle. In these markets, occupancy growth averaged 2 per cent. Read the rest of this entry »