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Office Demand in Seattle Suddenly Back and Bigger Than Ever

The fortunes of commercial real estate in Seattle have completely reversed since February, according to a new analysis.
May 10, 2021, 10am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Gene Balk shares news of a sudden recovery in office demand in Seattle.

Before the pandemic, Seattle was home to a booming tech industry and was consistently ranked among the fastest growing cities in the United States. As recently as February 2021, Balk was writing about the catastrophic collapse of demand for office spaces. But since then, demand has come roaring back, according to the Office Demand Index produced by VTS, the New York-based company that provides leasing and asset management software for commercial real estate landlords.

"From 2018 to 2019, Seattle had an average monthly index score of 90. That, of course, was before the pandemic had closed down offices, requiring millions of employees to work from home. By December 2020, Seattle’s index number had plummeted to a dismal 17," writes Balk. "But in 2021, Seattle has experienced a tremendous rebound, with interest in new office space growing each month. As of March, the index for interest in office space had shot past the pre-pandemic average, hitting 107."

According to researchers at VTS, the sudden shift is the result of pent-up demand and companies seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and working to get a jump on the market. There's another big caveat among he data shared by VTS: office space leasing for the tech industry is still far slower than pre-pandemic levels. "But a surge in interest in office space from other major industries in Seattle — health care, legal and professional services — has made up for that."

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Published on Monday, May 3, 2021 in The Seattle Times
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