Portland Office Report – Fall 2019

The metro's office market has been catching its breath after a busy 2018, but corporate expansions continue to support construction activity.
Office-using employment in Portland, click to enlarge
Office-using employment in Portland, click to enlarge

Portland’s office market has been cooling down after a dynamic 2018, but corporate expansions fueled activity in the metro year-to-date through September. Amazon expanded over the summer into the new Broadway Tower in the West End submarket. Next year, Google will occupy 80,000 square feet at the Meier & Frank Building in the CBD, while Intel is preparing for a multibillion-dollar facility in the Sunset Corridor submarket. Nearly 1 million square feet was under construction in the metro as of September, with 30 percent of that scheduled for delivery by the end of the year. An additional 2.6 million square feet was in the planning and permitting stages.

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Office-using employment picked up the pace over the summer. Portland gained 5,800 jobs in the 12 months ending in August and remains a magnet for skilled professionals, despite an information sector that contracted by 100 jobs year-over-year through August—on par with national trends. However, the recently announced expansions of Amazon and Intel are expected to boost that sector. The professional and business services sector expanded by 5,100 jobs, while the financial activities sector added 800 jobs during the same interval.

Employment growth by sector in Portland, click to enlarge
Employment growth by sector in Portland, click to enlarge

Portland’s office vacancy rate was 11.8 percent as of September, down 50 basis points since April. Total sales volume reached $882 million, with half of that comprising two transactions: Unico’s $255 million purchase of Montgomery Park and Goldman Sachs’ $118 million acquisition of Field Office.

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