Intelligent Investment

U.S. Office Demand Slows in October

CBRE Pulse of U.S. Office Demand

November 22, 2022 5 Minute Read

Looking for a PDF of this content?

  • Tenants continued to postpone leasing decisions amid high inflation, rising interest rates and hybrid working arrangements, resulting in another month of softening office demand in October.
  • The U.S. Leasing Activity Index increased by 1 point to 80 in October. The index rose in four markets, was flat in one and fell in six.
  • Boston (+59 points) recorded the highest increase in leasing activity, as several finance and life science tenants signed large leases. Dallas (+44 points) also recorded a notable increase, largely from a 960,000-sq.-ft. lease by a financial services company.
  • The U.S. TIM Index fell by 1 point to 73 in October, marking the fifth consecutive month without an increase. TIM decreased in four markets, and increased in three others. As a result of the large financial services company lease, Dallas’s TIM index fell to its lowest level since January 2021.
  • The U.S. Sublease Availability Index increased by 4 points and reached a pandemic-era high of 236 in October. Atlanta (+20 points) and San Francisco (+15) added the most sublease space, primarily by a large retail company in Atlanta and several technology companies in San Francisco.

What is the CBRE Pulse Report?

To gauge the pace of recovery, CBRE has created three indices for 11 major U.S. office markets—Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, Los Angeles, Manhattan, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C.

Using CBRE data, these indices measure office market activity each month and provide early indications of when and where momentum in office demand may be shifting.

These metrics—space requirements of active tenants in the market (TIM), leasing activity and sublease availability—provide a clear picture of office demand amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Note: Houston has been removed from the Pulse report and all historical data points have been restated.

Figure 1: Indexed Average Performance of Sublease Availability, TIM and Leasing Activity for the Top 11 U.S. Markets

Source: CBRE Research, October 2022.

September Demand Recovery by Market

Boston continued to set the pace for office demand recovery in September, driven by strong leasing and a healthy TIM index indicating future demand. Leasing activity increased in only three of the 11 Pulse markets: Manhattan, Boston and Dallas/Fort Worth. Nine markets had increased sublease availability, while Dallas/Fort Worth had a slight decline and Boston had no change.

Figure 2: October Office Market Recovery Index, Top U.S. Markets

Image of data table

Source: CBRE Research, October 2022.
Note: Sublease Availability Index level is denoted by size of bubble (the bigger the bubble, the greater the availability).

Leasing Activity Index

Figure 3: Indexed Monthly Leasing by Market Compared with 2018/2019 Average

Source: CBRE Research, October 2022.

Figure 4: October 2022 Leasing Activity Index – Top 11 U.S. Markets

Image of data table

Source: CBRE Research, October 2022.

Leasing Index methodology note: Leasing activity includes all new leases, expansions and renewals of 10,000 sq. ft. or more that close each month. The Leasing Activity Index uses a rolling three-month average of leasing activity. Most markets the weighted 20% for the current month, 50% for the previous month and 30% for two months prior. For New York and Boston, where more accurate leasing data is available by the end of each month, the weights are 50% for the current month, 30% for the previous month and 20% for two months prior. The monthly rolling average is compared with a pre-pandemic baseline, which is the average monthly leasing activity between 2018 and 2019. The index level for the baseline is 100.

Tenants in the Market Index

Figure 5: Indexed Square Footage of Tenant Requirements Compared with 2018/2019 Average

Source: CBRE Research, October 2022.

Figure 6: October 2022 TIM Index–Top 11 U.S. Markets

Image of data table

Source: CBRE Research, October 2022.

TIM Index methodology note: CBRE tracks the total square footage of requirements from active tenants in the market, with minimum requirements of 10,000 sq. ft. The TIM Index compares the total monthly TIM requirements to a pre-pandemic baseline, which is the average of TIM requirements recorded by CBRE in 2018 and 2019. The index level for the baseline is 100. In most cases, when tenant requirements are given as a range, the index uses the minimum square footage., However, Seattle records TIM using the average requirement within the tenants' size range, while Philadelphia uses the maximum square footage.

Sublease Availability Index

Figure 7: Indexed Sublease Availability by Market Compared with 2018/2019 Average

Source: CBRE Research, October 2022.

Figure 8: October 2022 Sublease Availability Index – Top 11 U.S. Markets

Image of data table

Source: CBRE Research, October 2022.

Sublease Index methodology note: Sublease availability measures the total square footage of sublease space available for occupancy. The Sublease Availability Index compares monthly sublease availability totals with a pre-pandemic baseline, which is the average amount of sublease space available in 2018 and 2019. The index level for the baseline is 100.

Note: In contrast to the Leasing and TIM Indices, a higher score on the Sublease Index is considered undesirable as it reflects an increase in available sublease space.

Related Insights

Insights in Your Inbox

Stay up to date on relevant trends and the latest research.