HOW WELL IS THE TECH INDUSTRY PERFORMING?
The high-tech software/services industry created 730,000 new jobs at a growth rate of 34% since 2009—one-fifth of all new office-using jobs. The sector was also the leading driver of U.S. office market demand, accounting for 20% of major leasing activity in 2015.
WHAT IS THE TOP-RANKED TECH-THIRTY CITY?
San Francisco topped the Tech-Thirty office markets list for four straight years; its high-tech job base (43%) and office rents (31%) grew at the fastest rate over the past two years. Phoenix shared the top high-tech job growth rate of 43% with San Francisco, but created 4,300 fewer new jobs.
WHERE TO FIND HIGH-TECH INDUSTRY MOMENTUM MARKETS?
Twenty-four markets exceeded the U.S. high-tech software/services job growth rate of 5.7% between 2012 and 2014, with Austin (33%), Silicon Valley (27%) and Nashville (23%) joining San Francisco and Phoenix to round out the top five.
WHICH CITIES LEAD THE TECH-THIRTY OFFICE MARKETS?
Sixteen markets posted double-digit rent growth over the past two years, led by San Francisco (31%), Silicon Valley (28%), Raleigh-Durham (23%), San Francisco Peninsula (21%) and Vancouver (18%).
WHERE ARE THE RENT PREMIUMS/DISCOUNTS?
The strong performance of high-tech submarkets led to substantial rent premiums over the entire Tech-Thirty office market—the aggregate premium was 11%. Within markets, premiums were as high as 87% in East Cambridge, 85% in Santa Monica and 73% in Mountain View. Discounts were also available in a number of emerging tech submarkets, including Reston/Herndon (-23%), St. Louis CBD (-17%) and Northeast Charlotte (-12%).
WHERE TO INVEST?
From an investor’s perspective, Austin, Salt Lake City, Phoenix and Portland offer further growth potential. These markets are also attractive to occupiers, although Raleigh-Durham, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Charlotte and Nashville offer the best combination of low office rents and a growing high-tech labor pool.
HOW LONG WILL THE INDUSTRY STAY STRONG?
The high-tech industry is directly supported by consumer demand and a growing number of high-tech integrated businesses, which should keep the industry strong in the years ahead and provide further support for office markets in the Tech-Thirty. Commercial real estate investors must be mindful and have realistic expectations about this historically volatile industry underpinning the health of many Tech-Thirty office markets.