The spillover into January, February, and March from 2019 feels like decades ago, but 2020 started just as strong as the previous booming years in Boston. Acquisitions to turn office into life science buildings, large tech company requirements, and rents continuing to climb all dominated Boston’s office dynamics until mid-March.
Since then, the COVID-19 global pandemic has brought the economy, and office real estate market, to its knees. Active lease requirements based on increased space needs or upcoming lease expirations were immediately paused and continue to be paused four months later. Employers aren’t sure how or when to send back employees to the office, and what started as a crash course on Work from Home is now being considered a necessary component of long-term planning. The sublease market has grown from 1.4 MSF in Boston to over 2 MSF during COVID, with more to come. The sublease market has not yet had the expected effect of lowering asking rents for direct space, adding a rent standoff amid an almost entirely stalled marketplace. Tenants are looking to take advantage of assumed asking rent decreases that landlords have thus far been unwilling to drop.
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Senior Vice President, Marketing