Sperry Van Ness International Corporation’s (SVNIC) 2015 Market Update Reports assess the current state of the national commercial real estate market, and identify micro-trends within specific geographic regions and industries for 2015. Today we are delving into the 2015 Top Office Markets to Watch. Not the largest or the most actively contested markets, the 2015 Office Markets to Watch are each at an important juncture that presents unique opportunities for investment. Together, they reflect the diversity of trends that is driving the economy and commercial real estate performance in markets across the country.

Top Office Market to Watch: Austin, TX

Austin: 2015 Office Markets to WatchA thriving tech sector set against an otherwise well-diversified local economy has made Austin a favorite of secondary market investors. In 2014, the pace of rent gains approached the double-digits as the vacancy rate fell to one of the lowest levels of any market in the country. Exceptional momentum in the local office market carried forward into the first half of 2015, though the pace of rent growth may taper off as more than 3 million square feet of office space currently under construction comes to market. In-progress projects and those in the planning and proposal stages are projected to expand the office inventory by nearly 10% over the coming years. Pre-leasing will blunt only some of the impact of new inventory. Although several high-profile central business district office construction projects like the 370,000-square-foot Colorado Tower and 195,000-square-foot IBC Tower are nearly entirely pre-leased, enthusiastic developers have allowed projects to go forward with fewer and fewer commitments.

With cap rates below 6%, investors in the Austin market face a higher burden in growing income over their investment time horizon. Current rent growth trends speak to the market’s potential, but investors should be cautious in any case. With a significant expansion in its office inventory over the next several years and more limited pre-leasing than its peer markets, Austin is exposed should the current expansion reach its peak earlier than is widely expected.

To read more on Austin and other top office markets, download the full version of the 2015 Office Market Update report here.

2015 Office Market Outlook

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