At first glance, it didn’t appear like Q3 2016 held any exciting news for Central Pennsylvania’s office real estate market. No top sales, no major projects delivered and only a couple projects under construction. But as we dug a little deeper into the numbers, we found that this quarter claimed recent record highs for RBA and quoted rental rates, as well as a record low for vacancy rate.
Together, these trends tell us that good things are happening within the local office real estate market, with numbers that continue to indicate growing demand. Let’s take a closer look at the highlights from Q3 2016 which we can use to analyze the current market and predict future trends.
Select Year-to-Date Deliveries:
CoStar’s list of Select Year-to-Date Deliveries includes two properties in Central Pennsylvania. Though none of these were delivered in Q3, it’s worth recapping that activity that has taken place so far in 2016. The Sterling Place Corporate Center in Mechanicsburg was delivered in Q2 with 129,000 square-feet of fully leased space. At 440 Walker Road, Chambersburg, 9,199 square-feet of space was delivered in Q1. Only 63% was preleased.
Top Under-Construction Properties:
Although no new properties were delivered in Q3, we expect to see at least one new office building delivered to the Central PA market in Q4. This property, located on Hogestown Road in Mechanicsburg, will add 129,000 square-feet of office space. It is 100% preleased.
Absorption and Demand:
Net absorption dropped this quarter by 70,917 square-feet. There has been a lot of fluctuation in net absorption from quarter to quarter and this continues in line with the trend. Total RBA did not budge from last quarter which was 54,902,624 square-feet. This maintains the recent record high that we reached in Q2, the highest RBA in Central PA since prior to Q4 2012.
Vacancy & Rental Rate:
Vacancy decreased again this quarter to a recent record low of 6.0%. This is the lowest vacancy rate we have experienced since prior to Q4 2012. As might be expected with a decrease in vacancy, we also experienced an increase in the quoted rental rate. Now at $17.30 per square-foot, this is $0.04 higher than last quarter and only $0.03 less than the recent record high of $17.33 we saw in Q1 2016.
All in all, Q3 brought positive news for Central Pennsylvania’s office real estate market. An increase in demand for space is driving down vacancy and driving up the price per square foot. New properties are at least 50%, if not 100%, preleased before they even hit the market. With another 100% preleased property expected to be delivered next quarter, we predict that 2016 will have a strong finish, indicating a healthy and growing office market.
Based upon the data for Q3 2016, what do you find to be most interesting or important? Share your insight by commenting below!