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March 2022

REmark: The Rebound of Suburban Office Leasing

While the headlines surrounding office space in the last two “pandemic” years have focused on work-from-home, flex schedules, subleases and increasing vacancy, one 2021 metric in the Chicago Suburbs told a completely different story: Leasing activity – which is the measurement of square footage of both renewal and new leases completed, has quietly (and somewhat surprisingly) returned to near-pre-pandemic levels! NAI Hiffman Senior Associate Tabitha Dozier presents the stats in this quick breakdown.

In the two years prior to the March 2020 shutdown in Illinois, leasing activity in the Chicago Suburbs averaged about 1.6 M SF per quarter. That figure dropped dramatically in the following four quarters, to under 1 million square feet on average. The past three quarters demonstrated an incredible rebound, however, as average leasing activity in the suburban office market rose to about 1.5 million square feet, a full 91.7 percent of the pre-pandemic average.

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