Office Sublease Space in Boston Metro Soars to 5.8 Million Square Feet in the Second Quarter

Boston (Photo: Ashok Boghani)

BOSTON– Office sublease space in Greater Boston soared by 1.7 million square feet, reaching to a total of 5.8 million square feet in the second quarter of this year, according a report from CBRE.

The report shows that the life sciences sector maintained its resilience throughout the second quarter, with almost no new lab sublease space coming to market across Boston, Cambridge or the suburbs.

“During the second quarter of 2020, the commercial real estate market in Boston felt the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the beginning of April, Boston Metro has seen sublease availability climb by 1.7M sq. ft., ending the quarter at nearly 5.8M sq. ft. which is up 40 basis points (bps) from the end of the first quarter to 2.7%,” the report said.

A total of 142 office sublease spaces were added in 100 different properties across all Boston markets, CBRE said, adding that lab space across Greater Boston saw almost no new sublease space this quarter, as the life sciences sector has been largely resilient during the pandemic.

“Nearly 60% of sublease space on the market is set to expire by 2023, with another 20% set to expire in 2027 and beyond,” the report said. “77% of the spaces added in the second quarter are smaller than 20,000 sq. ft.”

Here are some other highlights from the report:

  • Downtown Boston saw over 700,000 sq. ft. of sublease space hit the market, ending the second quarter with over 2 million sq. ft. of sublease space available.
  • The 2 million sq. ft. of sublease space on the market in downtown has surpassed the high from the Financial Crisis in 2010 but has not surpassed the all-time high of 3.0 million sq. ft in 2001.
  • Technology, advertising, media and information (TAMI) tenants made up over 50% of the sublandlords that added sublease space in Boston, with business services and finance, insurance, and real estate (FIRE) tenants making up nearly 30% combined.
  • Cambridge office sublease space doubled from the first quarter of 2020 as several large spaces hit the market from life sciences firms.
  • Suburban Boston ended the quarter with 2.7 million sq. ft of sublease space on the market, which stayed flat quarter-over-quarter.
  • 450,000 sq. ft. of new sublease space came on the market this quarter, but the same amount of sublease space was leased throughout the quarter.