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Major Office Markets Outlook (Q2 2021)

The start to the year has been in line with our expectations, meaning that falls in absorption and rents have generally accelerated in the six major metros. Owing to their relatively low rents and smaller shares of tech workers, we expect Washington D.C., Los Angeles and Chicago to be the top performers in our forecast period, registering average total returns of around 3.5%-4% p.a. On the other hand, New York City and San Francisco are set to be the worst performers, with rents falling by 13%-15% peak-to-trough and capital values ending the period 15%-17% lower than at the end of 2019. Total returns for those two metros will therefore be sub-2% p.a. in 2021-25. Boston will outperform those two hard-hit metros, but not by a great deal, producing returns of 2%-2.5% p.a., only a little below the US average.
Kiran Raichura Senior Property Economist
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