Feb 8, 2024 - Business

Exclusive: Big office renewals outpaced new leases last year

Largest U.S. office leases in 2023 in square footage, by industry
Data: CBRE; Chart: Axios Visuals

Most of the biggest U.S. office leases got renewed last year, according to a new report first shared with Axios.

Why it matters: Instead of locking down a new space, many companies are staying put as they continue to adjust to a workweek that's part remote, part in-office.

By the numbers: 58% of the 100 largest office leases by square footage in 2023 were renewals, per the report from CBRE, a commercial real estate firm.

  • That's a big shift from 2019, when 68% of the top 100 were new leases and 32% were renewals.

What's happening: Employers around the country are shrinking their office footprints and looking to rein in costs, Axios' Emily Peck reports.

  • The 100 largest leases last year totaled 26.8 million square feet, down from 30.4 million square feet in 2022, per the CBRE report.

The big picture: While companies are leasing less space, they're betting higher-quality offices in prime locations will get workers in more often, according to CBRE.

  • Three-quarters of the top 100 leases by square footage were in top-rated buildings, per the report.

Between the lines: Newer buildings have seen more move-ins than move-outs since before the pandemic, Jessica Morin, CBRE's director of U.S. office research, tells Axios.

  • Companies "are striving for the most efficient use of their space as they adapt to hybrid work, and they're often choosing to do so in the best-quality space," Mike Watts, a president at CBRE, said in a press release.

Zoom in: Manhattan and Silicon Valley led with the most square footage among their large office leases, according to the report.

Go deeper: Tech's grip on largest office leases loosens

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