Colliers Report: Columbia office market is healthy, despite the pandemic

April 7, 2021

Key Takeaways

  • Corporate employers likely to reduce office footprint
  • Local and regional employees return to offices
  • Rental rates remain constant
  • Tenants still unwilling to make long-term commitments
  • In-person office tours increase

The Columbia office market is healthy despite some softening in the market. As the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine continues, more employees are returning to the workplace. Coupled with substantial inward migration during 2020, demand should expand the need for additional office space, increasing absorption and eventually forcing the overall vacancy rate downward.

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The first step toward normalcy began during the first quarter of 2021 with an uptick of in-person office tours. However, tenants are still tentative and continue to avoid making long-term commitments. National employers are likely to return space in smaller markets like Columbia as their employees move to a fully remote schedule. However, regional and local employers appear to be returning in large numbers. One sign of improvement in the market is the construction of a 75,000-square-foot timber infrastructure office building at 2300 Bull Street in Columbia. Rental rates remain unchanged. However, the cost to upfit existing spaces continues to rise, requiring landlords to raise rental rates.

A Note Regarding COVID-19

As we publish this report, the U.S. and the world at large are facing a tremendous challenge, the scale of which is unprecedented in recent history. The spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is significantly altering day-to-day life, impacting society, the economy and, by extension, commercial real estate.

The extent, length and severity of this pandemic is unknown and continues to evolve at a rapid pace. The scale of the impact and its timing varies between locations. To better understand trends and emerging adjustments, please subscribe to Colliers’ COVID-19 Knowledge Leader page for resources and recent updates.