Samantha Marinko / July 28, 2023
This time last year, I made reference to “the current stalemate in the market,” referring to the minuscule variance in the vacancy rate for downtown, Class A office buildings in the six months prior.
This year, I have a similar report.
In January of each year, The Boulos Company compiles data in order to develop a comprehensive analysis of the vacancy rates of office buildings. In particular, we focus on the 25 Class A office buildings in downtown Portland, which include over 2.4 million square feet of space.
At the time that report was published, the vacancy rate for space on the market for direct lease was 3.75% or 90,527+/- SF. That square footage was derived from five 10,000+ SF spaces and a handful of smaller vacancies.
Currently, the vacancy rate is 3.45% or 83,391+/- SF, and still, that is attributed largely to five 10,000+ SF vacancies.
Though at only 0.3% there hasn’t been a change of much significance with the direct vacancy, the sublease rate reflects a bigger shift, and likely a greater trend that we will continue to see in the coming months and years. The sublease vacancy rate in January was 4.59%; the current rate is 6.37%. Although that’s still relatively low and could be considered healthy, the 1.78% increase in just six months is suggestive of a trend we are likely to see more of.
The lack of a shift in the direct rate is a relatively clearcut story – no absorption of much significance, no new vacancies of much significance.
However, there is even more to the sublease story than the number alone can reflect, because there was in fact some absorption of the sublease vacancy reported in January. 100 Fore Street, for example, had 15,458+/- SF available for sublease as reported six months ago. That space has been leased by a new tenant, therefore removing that SF from the updated total, and yet, the number has still increased quite significantly. That means that the new sublease availabilities are even more substantial than the increased rate reflects.
This will be something to keep an eye on. As the dust from the pandemic continues to settle and leases begin to roll, tenants will be forced to make a decision as to how they consider their space needs and we will see those decisions reflected in the vacancy rates moving forward.
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