More office tenants making the big move from renters to owners

Tenants are making plenty of big moves in today’s challenging office market. Many are moving out of older buildings and leasing smaller spaces in newer buildings, spending more per square foot but less overall for higher-end accommodations. Others are seeking out space in less expensive suburban areas as they embrace hybrid work schedules and no longer need to worry about their employees idling in traffic five days a week.

And still others? They are making the move from tenants to owners, purchasing office space instead of leasing it as the price of office properties continues to drop.

Jll reported that in the first quarter of 2014, office users accounted for 17% of U.S. office acquisitions. That might not seem like much, but in the fourth quarter of 2021, users only accounted for 4% of U.S. office acquisitions. That figure was only at 9% as recently as the second quarter of 2023, according to JLL researchers Jacob Rowden and Elena Lanning.

Since the beginning of 2023, corporate users have purchased $4.5 billion in office assets. Higher education and state and local governments have acquired $1.9 billion and $1.5 billion.

Some big names are making the move from leasing to owning, too. JLL reported that Costar Group, Prada, Kaiser Permanente, FanDuel, Hyundai, Amazon, Fortinet and Intuitive Sugical have all acquired offices priced above $100 million for occupancy since the beginning of 2023.