Press Release

CBRE Report: Spurred by Remote Work, Business Prioritizes Digital Infrastructure, Fueling the North American Data Center Market

March 10, 2021

Data centers, one of the fastest growing real estate sectors pre-pandemic, remained strong in 2020 as businesses reconfigured their digital infrastructure to improve their remote work capabilities, and tech giants and cloud service providers raced to meet consumer and corporate demand, according to CBRE.

The firm’s latest North American Data Center Trends Report shows 329.6 megawatts (MW) of net absorption in 2020 across the seven primary U.S. data center markets. While down 11 percent from the peak in 2019, 2020 absorption was still higher than any other year on record. Meanwhile, vacancy fell to just 8.5 percent, despite an 11 percent growth in new supply.

“With data usage growing at an explosive rate, we expect data center demand to increase across both primary and secondary markets in 2021,” said Pat Lynch, Senior Managing Director, Data Center Solutions, CBRE. “To capitalize on this growth, data center providers will look to deliver network and interconnection offerings to better connect business-critical applications, as well as to meet anticipated demand for evolving technologies like 5G, Edge computing and the internet of things—all of which will further fuel the data center real estate market.”

Top North American Data Center Markets

Northern Virginia remained the most active data center market, with net absorption of 217.2 MW in 2020.

Top 10 Most-Active Markets:


2020 Absorption


2020 Absorption

Northern Virginia

217.2 MW


17.5 MW


38.1 MW

Central Washington

14.5 MW

Dallas-Fort Worth

33.7 MW


13.1 MW

Silicon Valley

26.6 MW


11.0 MW


18.2 MW


6.9 MW

Strong demand and an uptick in investor interest in direct investment due to the strong performance of data center REITs in 2020 resulted in a 457.8-MW data center construction pipeline in the primary markets, up 62 percent from the end of 2019. More than half of the current pipeline is pre-leased. Northern Virginia accounts for more than 60 percent (283.5 MW) of the construction pipeline in the primary markets.

Other markets with significant construction pipelines include Montreal (57 MW), Silicon Valley (50.1 MW), Central Washington (43.7 MW), Hillsboro, Oregon (40.5 MW), and Chicago (33.7 MW).

*The seven primary U.S. data center markets are Northern Virginia, Dallas, Silicon Valley, Chicago, Phoenix, New York Tri-State and Atlanta.



About CBRE Group, Inc.
CBRE Group, Inc. (NYSE:CBRE), a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 company headquartered in Dallas, is the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm (based on 2023 revenue). The company has more than 130,000 employees (including Turner & Townsend employees) serving clients in more than 100 countries. CBRE serves a diverse range of clients with an integrated suite of services, including facilities, transaction and project management; property management; investment management; appraisal and valuation; property leasing; strategic consulting; property sales; mortgage services and development services. Please visit our website at