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MNCAR: Q1-2020 Office Market Report

Written by: MNCAR/Redi Comps
Economic Overview

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the unemployment rate for the Mpls-St Paul metropolitan statistical area (MSA) decreased 30 basis points to 3.1% for February 2020 from 3.4% for February 2019. The unemployment rate for the US was 3.5% in February 2020 down from 3.8% last year. State of Minnesota unemployment rate was 3.1%. The Mpls-St Paul MSA saw an increase in job growth but a decrease in office job growth in professional, financial and information dropping 1,200 during the same period.

Market Overview

The Mpls-St Paul office market, consisting of over 125 msf of space in seven counties across the metro topping 133,000 sf negative absorption for Q1 2020. The vacancy rate for the market stands at 12.0% for all properties. Multi- tenant properties posted 15.6% vacancy with over 48,800 sf positive absorption. The average asking lease rate for Mpls-St Paul came in at $24.59 psf FSG. During Q1 2020 there were 22 construction projects throughout the market totaling just shy of 2.9.

Market Highlights

During the Q1 2020 the market experienced over 1.2 msf of leasing activity in 283 transactions. Class A properties vacancy rate started the year at 9.0% for all properties and 13.1% for multi-tenant properties. For multi-tenant properties the Northwest market posted the lowest vacancy rate at 9.7%, Mpls CBD vacancy was 16.2%, St Paul CBD was 20.5% and suburban markets was 14.4%. Mpls CBD Core market posted the most positive absorption of 141,000 sf with Merrill Corp lease of 78,000 sf topping the list. Southwest market posted the largest negative absorption of 182,000 sf for all property types primarily due to Comcast vacating 108,000 sf and Cliqstudios vacating 104,000 sf in a single tenant properties.
Employment

Employment: up 1,969,253
Area Unemployment: down 3.1
U.S. Unemployment: down 3.5
Office Jobs: down 516,60

Market Recap

Total Inventory: 126,158,494 sf
Absorption: (133,000)
Vacancy: 12%
Asking Rate: $24.59
New Construction: 2,895,944 sf

READ ENTIRE REPORT: Q1-2020_Mpls-St_Paul_Office_Market_Report

TWIN CITIES MARKET SNAPSHOT

The Minneapolis-St. Paul Real Commercial Estate Market continues to perform admirably with office and industrial sectors demonstrating excellent performance throughout 2019.  The Markets characteristics remain upbeat and include positive net absorption of vacant space, moderate to low vacancy rates and measured new speculative development.  Economic conditions remain favorable however, recent statics raise concern for the continued overall economic growth in Minnesota and the USA.   While inflation continues to remain low at about 2% (annualized), unemployment has increased from 2.5% to 2.9% and median income for Minnesota households as stagnated year over year at $70,300-both still much better numbers than the national averages of 3.4% unemployment and median household income of $63,179 respectively. The 15 month trade war with China combined with all of the uncertainty in Washington DC (impeachment and gridlock) and slowing business investment-down 1% on an annualized rate last quarter create potential headwinds to sustained future economic growth.

Industrial Market


 
Industrial has been the best performing asset class of real estate since the Great Recession in 2009.  Vacancy rates are at an all-time low (4.9%) in a Twin City universe of 248 million square feet and have decreases by 1% since the beginning of 2019.

Net Absorption of available space stands at 2.73 million square feet through the third quarter of this year with bulk (high-bay) warehouse experiencing 1.74 million square feet of net absorption. Driving the net absorption has been e-commerce related companies localizing the distribution of almost everything now available on the internet.
To date there are 27 industrial projects under construction totaling 3.6 million square feet.   1.9 million square feet has already been delivered to the market.

Collectively, what all this most likely indicates is a continuation, at least through 2020, of relatively good conditions and performance for the industrial market.  The two current deterring factors, other than an economic slowdown, are the cost of tenant improvements and finding and hiring employees.

Office Market

The office market continues its long standing recovery albeit some sub markets are stronger than others.   The overall office vacancy rate for all Twin Cities office properties is 11.8%, which is down .8% from January 2019, however within multi-tenant properties the vacancy rate is 15.4%.  The northeast office market has the lowest vacancy rate at 8.6% and St. Paul CBD has the highest vacancy rate approaching 20%. Class A multi-tenant office space has the lowest vacancy rate at 12.5%, Class B Office space is at 17.7% and Class C is 13.8%.
Net absorption Year to Date is 363,871 square feet.  Actual absorption Year to Date is 504,247 square feet, however sublease space create 128,052 square feet of negative absorption.

The office market performance has instilled enough confidence in a local developer to spec a 361,104 square foot office building in the West End mixed use development named 10 West End. Net rental rates are projected to start at $25.50/sf.

One new office market characteristic that has been gaining momentum is the demand for building amenities.  Many office buildings have completed or are planning to complete updates to building common areas, add amenities such as work out areas, coffee bars, common area meeting spaces, food service, and concierge services among other things.  Many of today’s sophisticated tenants want space that is fun, functional and will retain and attract top talent in the current tight labor market.