Survey: Rochester area office vacancy rate is decreasing

Jan 18, 2017

Credit PBS.org

A new report on the Rochester area commercial real estate market shows some positive signs for the local economy.

The annual report from the Rochester division of CBRE, a global realty company, says that vacancy rates for commercial buildings both downtown and in the suburbs have been decreasing.

The office vacancy rate in the city is just over 18 percent, (down 1.6 percent from the previous year) and in the suburbs it’s about 12 percent. But Michael Frame, an executive vice president for CBRE, says that’s a relatively healthy situation, with the vacancy rate going down in recent years.

He says there are a few reasons why that’s happening.

“It is directly related to the fact that we haven’t been doing a lot of speculative building and because we’ve got this new, kind of broader based economy of small and medium sized businesses which are helping to fill our vacant spaces,” Frame told WXXI News.

Frame says the fact that a number of older commercial buildings in downtown Rochester have been re-purposed recently for housing has also helped bring down the office vacancy rate.

“It brings more people downtown and people like to work near where they live, so then, what we … expect to see more of  is, that  as the downtown population grows, more and more employers are going to say ‘wow, I’ve got to think about expanding my business downtown’”

Even with the commercial real estate market getting a bit tighter, Frame says that leasing rates really haven't gone up a lot, because there is still a lot of competition in that market.