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A Positive Q1 in New Hampshire with an Unclear Future

A positive start to the year, but the direction is unclear due to the pandemic.

The New Hampshire commercial real estate market had a positive start to the year, but the direction of the market moving forward is unclear. Occupancy rates remain high, with the office market at 91% and the industrial market at 95% at the end the first quarter. We could see absorption slow down due to many business decisions being put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With the stay-at-home order, many offices are vacant with the transition to a work-at-home platform. Conversely, some warehouse and manufacturing companies are functioning at their highest capacity. Both trends will likely have a lasting impact on the market.

Focusing on a strong first quarter; the office market finished with positive absorption in most submarkets, with the overall market absorbing 23,030 SF, or about 0.10% of the inventory. This minor increase and an already high occupancy rate did little to change asking rates, which dropped by 0.25%, and ended the quarter at $18.45 MG.

The industrial market remains tight as occupancy rates remained relatively stagnant, showing a slight downward move of 0.24%, or 164,000 SF, of negative absorption. This anomaly is likely due to the fully occupied buildings we added to our tracked inventory. At the beginning of the year, we took a hard look at how we categorize industrial buildings and decided to remove the generic category of general industrial and added a ‘manufacturing’ category. All tracked industrial buildings are now placed in one of the following categories: manufacturing, flex/R&D, and warehouse/distribution. This recategorization impacted the overall weighted average rents, as well as occupancy and vacancy rates in specific category. Because of these changes, the market saw a larger bump in rents than we typically see with a 7% increase, ending the quarter at $6.81 NNN.

As NH continues to battle the impact of COVID-19, we could see a change in how companies view their real estate needs. For instance, office users may do an in-depth look at the positive impact working from home has on its employees and conclude its office requirements can be decreased. On the other hand, employees and employers may have learned the value of collaboration during this period. Time will tell what type of impact this event has on the office market. On the industrial side, increased unemployment could lead to companies filling long standing vacant positions. For more information about COVID-19 impacts on the market, take a look at Colliers’ Knowledge Leader publication ( Hopefully, by the end of second quarter business operations will be back to more of a norm.

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Kristie Russell

Research Manager | New Hampshire & Maine

Manchester, NH

As the Research Manager, I serve as the point person for gathering and reporting on market knowledge for the New Hampshire and Maine offices. 

I collaborate with our brokers to deliver in-depth analyses of current market conditions and trends for their clients. Using various in-house and online resources, I maintain our proprietary database, which includes detailed property statistics, sale and lease comparables, market contacts, and tenant activity within New Hampshire and Maine. 

With this data, I develop best-in-class research reports, market analyses, and market insight to ensure our clients capitalize on this research as they contemplate business decisions that significantly affect their bottom line.

Prior to becoming the Research Manager, I was a Marketing Specialist at Colliers for five years. In this position I used Adobe software, including InDesign and Photoshop, to implement marketing strategies in support of our brokers. 

My responsibilities included creating property marketing collateral - such as flyers, brochures, ads, and proposals - as well as maintaining listing databases and our exclusive listing inventory. In addition to the property marketing, I assisted in coordinating special events, handling public relations and advertising, creating brand awareness, and developing our SEO and social media campaigns. 

Additionally, I am a licensed real estate salesperson in New Hampshire.

Prior to beginning my career in commercial real estate, I worked for Gallery Marketing Communications, LLC as a graphic design artist. During my time there, I used Adobe software to design brochures, flyers, business cards, and postcards, among other marketing materials. I also worked for Gatehouse Media, Inc as a freelance sports journalist, covering high school games in Massachusetts.

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