Columbus Office Investment Forecast
Expanding Office Firms Absorb Available Space;
Buyers Look North of the City For Upside Potential
Area employers boost headcounts while some tenants weigh space needs. As Columbus' economy continues to recover, overall employment is expected to end 2022 just short of the pre-pandemic total. The metro's traditional office-using sectors play a significant role in this achievement, accounting for roughly one-third of the positions added this year. Employers including Square, The Original Bark Co. and Upstart have each committed to bolstering payrolls, while Nationwide, Cardinal Health and other locally based Fortune 500 companies are potentially expanding staffs. Growth in the number of professional services and financial positions bodes well for a market that saw major employers including Alliance Data, State Farm and Discover Financial Services return square footage to the market last year. The expansion of the office-using labor pool is poised to support demand for this recently vacated space, driving positive annual absorption for the first time in the past three years. Still, near-term vacancy will likely remain slightly elevated compared to pre-pandemic numbers. Despite these circumstances, developers have more than 1 million square feet underway at the onset of this year.