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Return To Office Plods Along As Tenants Vacate Space


Low return-to-office figures persist as the summer wears on, with offices seeing roughly the same level of traffic in July, after workers returned from the Independence Day weekend, as they did in June.

Office occupancy in 10 major U.S. markets after the holiday weekend edged back up to 44.1%, according to the latest Kastle Back-to-Work Barometer. 

Tech-heavy San Jose remains the lowest-occupied market, Kastle said, with 34.4% occupancy as of July 13. Austin — also known for tech, but more diversified — had the highest occupancy, at 58.1%. 

Over the course of 2022, workers have slowly made their way back to the office, but the sector nevertheless suffered 7.8M SF of negative absorption nationwide during the second quarter of 2022, according to Cushman & Wakefield

Over the past nine quarters, the U.S. office market has had positive absorption in only one quarter — Q4 2021 — when 1.17M SF was absorbed, the company reports. 

That is roughly the same pattern as during the Global Financial Crisis, when there was negative absorption during eight of nine quarters.

But the overall negative trend masks the fact that even now among office space, there are winners and losers. As their leases expire, tenants are moving out of older buildings and into newer buildings with more amenities, Cushman & Wakefield reports.