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21Q1 Boston Office Market Report

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There is light at the end of the tunnel, as more than one million Massachusetts residents have been fully vaccinated. While certainly a far cry from pre-pandemic levels, activity in Boston is picking up, with more foot traffic in the city. Physical occupancies remain low but are improving little by little. First quarter stats show an apparent settling of the market. Negative absorption continued, the amount of sublease space has begun to stabilize, and asking rents declined for the first time this cycle. Vacancies ended the quarter at 15.7%, a seven percentage-point increase from one year ago.

The office market in Cambridge and the suburbs is showing mixed signals. Absorption was mostly flat in Cambridge quarter-over-quarter, with 27,000 square feet of negative absorption. In the suburbs, 123,000 square feet was absorbed in the first quarter. While ZoomInfo agreed to take 226,000 square feet in Waltham, IBM is leaving its roughly 500,000-square-foot campus in Littleton. Vacancies at 10.2% in Cambridge and 18.1% in the suburbs are up 3.8 and 1.6 percentage points, respectively, over the past 12 months. Office demand remains restrained, while lab/life science is stealing the headlines. Sublease space availability declined, ending the quarter at a combined 3.4 million square feet, down nearly 200,000 square feet since year-end; both Cambridge and the suburbs saw a quarterly decline.


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21Q1 Boston Office Market Report

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Aaron Jodka

National Director of Capital Markets Research

Boston

As Research Director | U.S. Capital Markets, Aaron is responsible for all aspects of research within the Capital Markets platform. He synthesizes and interprets a variety of data and information to stay ahead of trends that put our clients in an optimal position to make informed decisions. Additionally, he ensures that Colliers professionals are providing superior service and deliverables to existing and potential clients. At the same time, he promotes the Colliers brand via best-in-class research reports, weekly insight posts, thought leadership, and contributions to numerous panels, media outlets, and industry events.

Aaron collaborates with every team at the firm and wears many hats: in-house economist, advisor, consultant, thought leader, strategic business analyst, presenter, and, of course, researcher. He connects with various industry experts within the Colliers organization to provide a customized solution for each client.

With a deep understanding of markets throughout the country, he provides a unique perspective on market dynamics across asset types and investment strategies, providing clients with tailored data and analytics to ultimately guide decision-making solutions.

As the Managing Director, Research & Client Services, Aaron oversees all aspects of Client Service offerings in Boston, including Research, Marketing, Graphics, Financial Analysis, Lease Administration, and Client Service Coordination. He ensures that our brokers are providing superior service and deliverables to existing and potential clients. At the same time, he assists brokers with pitch preparation and delivery, while continuing to push the Colliers brand via best-in-class research reports, thought leadership, and offers market insight as a monthly guest on Bloomberg Radio’s Baystate Business, and is a frequent resource for Bisnow, Banker & Tradesman, The Boston Globe, Boston Business Journal, The Real Reporter, and other publications.

Aaron's team manages the information and intelligence in our proprietary database, which, dating from the late 1980s, includes detailed property statistics on nearly 220 million SF of office space as well as on lab properties in the Greater Boston area. We also track more than 150 million SF of industrial properties in our market.

Before joining Colliers, he spent 11 years with Property & Portfolio Research (PPR), now CoStar Portfolio Strategy. There, he advised institutional clients on their commercial real estate investment strategies across property sectors and also spoke at industry events, quarterly CoStar webinars, and in front of client audiences. Aaron also led and directed a team of economists who monitored property markets across the United States. Near the end of his tenure, he helped establish a new business unit at CoStar, leading in the hiring, training, and coaching of a team of 50 market analysts. 

Outside of the office, Aaron can be found cheering on his children at their extracurricular activities. He also enjoys hiking, travel, relaxing at home or at the lake, or plugging away at one home project or another. Last but not least, he's an avid fan of Boston sports teams.

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Dion Sorrentino

Research Analyst

Boston

Dion Sorrentino joined Colliers International Boston as a Research Analyst in 2019. In this capacity, he contributes to the production of the firm’s quarterly Market Viewpoints, as well as managing the distribution of its weekly newsletter, Week in Review. In addition, he collaborates with brokerage and advisory teams on their client work and presentations.

Dion assists in managing the Colliers International Boston proprietary research database, which contains data on over 360 million square feet of commercial space in approximately 4,000 buildings in the Greater Boston area, encompassing Boston, Cambridge, and Suburban Boston and the insights it delivers. Dion also works with the rest of the research team to provide timely and reliable data that is critical to making effective and well-informed business decisions, including available space surveys and market trend analyses.

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