Washington, D.C., Retail Market Report
Office Return Yet to Take Widespread Hold in D.C.;
Suburban Assets First to Report Improving Metrics
Slow return to workplaces weighs on operations. Despite the availability of vaccines and testing, the office sector had yet to make substantial progress by June of this year. Since the first quarter of 2020, approximately 9.7 million square feet of office space has been returned to the market, driving vacancy up 270 basis points to its highest level since at least 2007. The path through the rest of the year is mixed. Rising infections from coronavirus variants have delayed some planned office returns. A vaccine mandate for employees of federal agencies and large companies nevertheless aims to facilitate that process, which should help lift foot traffic in still-quiet commercial districts. Ridership across the metro’s many public transit options continued to trail normal levels by around 60 percent in September.