As the industry gains widespread media attention and becomes the new norm for office space demand, the US flexible workspace market is now the largest in the world. Instant Offices has just released their annual 2019 US Market Report. Here are key takeaways from their annual report.
Growth in the US flex-space market has been fueled by demand. Unlike predicted, Instant’s report suggests that consolidation has not occurred over the last year. Rather, diversification has broadened market options to include niche spaces and those better tailored to occupiers’ needs.
Diversification of the market also speaks to a greater presence of flexible workspaces outside of urban areas and central business districts. This points back to demand driving market expansion. Instant highlights the presence of franchise business models such as Venture X and Office Evolution paving the way for flex in regional and secondary cities.
Flexible workspace is no longer only a real estate option for independents and startups. US operators have evolved their propositions to accommodate larger, more mature corporates in their spaces. This is evident when comparing the average size of centers opened during 2019 to the average size of all US centers: 28,526 square feet versus 18,741 square feet, respectively.
Room for Growth
Although the US flex-space market has grown to be the largest in the world, it comprises a mere 1% of the country’s total office inventory. This indicates the tremendous room for expansion within the sector. In seeking to deliver on enterprise-grade demand for flex-space, operators and landlords can find mutual opportunities to deliver premium space.
Given corporate and enterprise tenant uptake of flex space, operators are undoubtedly focusing more on their operational efficiency and prioritizing service delivery. As the market matures, millennial-grabbing amenities such as beer and pool tables won’t cut it. Instant cites the importance of critical services such as stable internet connectivity and accessible conference rooms as value-add to the member experience. In fact, their research demonstrates that “81% of end users would be willing to pay a premium for business related services that truly add value”.
When it comes to landlords, they continue to shift from a product to a service mindset and many are leveraging technology for success. Tishman Speyer has launched their own flex-space proposition, Studio, and are using smart technology [link to Connect product page] to deliver high-end amenities and enterprise-grade services.
Independent Operators take the Prize
In line with last year’s report, independent operators running one or two locations continue to make up the majority of the US flexible workspace market. They represent 84% of the market and benefit from low barriers to entry, adapting to their core markets and diversifying the market with niche space.
Notable Markets for 2019
Although New York and California are still of the fastest growing markets for supply of flex-space, DC and Georgia saw the highest year over year growth at 15%. In terms of city growth, this year Phoenix, San Francisco, Chicago, Atlanta and Seattle stand out for increased growth.
Atlanta and San Francisco saw the highest rise in demand for 10+ desks versus the previous year. For larger demands, there were notable spikes in requests for 25+ desks over the previous year in San Francisco (60% versus 27%) and New York (13% versus 6%).
In terms of deal length, San Francisco and Denver stand out for shorter deals of 1-3 months (85% and 73% respectively), whereas Miami and Chicago saw longer term deals for 10+ months (60% and 44%, respectively).