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22Q3 Boston Lab Market Report

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Key Takeaways

  • Vacancies are rising, as Boston, Cambridge, and Suburbs each posted negative net absorption in the third quarter.
  • A record amount of sublease space is on the market.
  • Millions of square feet of new product is underway, some without preleasing in place.
  • Venture capital funding levels are healthy relative to history.

Life science fundamentals continued to weaken in the third quarter as the market dealt with an overall decline in occupied space. Vacancies worsened for the fourth consecutive quarter, when many tenants either returned space to landlords or placed space to be subleased. At just under 6%, the overall vacancy rate is at its highest point since mid-2020 but still below its long-term historical average. More than one million square feet of sublease space (a metro record) is available, and more could emerge.

The construction pipeline remains full, with millions of square feet underway, but future groundbreakings are more likely to be linked to having a tenant in hand. This year plenty of big pharma companies signed full-building deals for future construction, but a notable number of underway speculative projects are nearly complete without being fully leased. Although venture capital flows into the metro (almost $8 billion year-to-date) are healthy and tenants are still seeking millions of square feet of leases, vacancies will probably rise further as empty space delivers.

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22Q3 Boston Lab Market Report

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