Jan 13, 2023 - Business

Boston commercial vacancies at their highest in over a decade

Illustration of an office chair neon sign with the word vacancy flashing next to it

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

An uncertain economy is fueling the highest commercial real estate vacancy rate in Boston in over a decade, according to several of the city's top brokers.

Driving the news: Commercial vacancies were over 15% in Boston and the asking price of rents fell 1.1% in the fourth quarter of 2022, brokerage firm JLL reported last week.

  • Boston's leading brokerage, CBRE, reported a 12.5% vacancy rate. Colliers reported 17.6% .
  • Compare those numbers to just three years ago when only 6.5% of offices were vacant, according to CBRE.

Why it matters: Companies are still adjusting to post-pandemic hybrid and work-from-home trends that could be here to stay.

  • Executives are also wary of investing in office space that could get little use, especially as fear of a recession grows across the economy.

What they're saying: "Throughout 2022, Boston has fared better than most cities," CBRE wrote in their report, co-authored by Suzanne Duca, Connor Channel and Jake Smith.

  • The city, according to CBRE, ranked in the top three out of the largest 11 markets in crucial areas like leasing activity, tenants-in-market, and sublease availability.

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