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Office vacancy rates in the U.S. 2019-2020

In the United States, vacancy rates across the office sector increased to an average of 15 percent in the second quarter of 2020. The jump from nine percent in the first quarter of the year is primarily due to the impact of the coronavirus.

Workplaces may never be the same again

Office buildings are generally grouped into three classes: A, B, and C. Office spaces that provide premium facilities and demand high rent are considered Class A. The vacancy rates across all categories are expected to remain at around 15 percent until employment fully returns to pre-coronavirus levels. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way that companies operate, and working from home has become the new normal for many employees in the United States. For teams that have returned to the office, employees are being encouraged to stagger start times and alternate their work schedules.

The impact of lockdowns on retail vacancy rates

Vacancy rates have not only increased in the office sector. The coronavirus severely impacted parts of the retail industry with shopper footfall plummeting in the United States due to the crisis. There were many permanent closures, and retail vacancy rates hit an average of 20 percent in the second quarter of 2020. Physical retail locations, such as shopping malls and free-standing outlets, are steadily reopening, but many are operating at a lower capacity due to health and safety restrictions.

Office vacancy rates in the United States from 2nd quarter 2019 to 2nd quarter 2020

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Release date

July 2020


United States

Survey time period

Q2 2019 to Q2 2020

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