When real estate investors want to quickly get a sense of the fundamentals of an office market, the standard go-to is a market report produced by a local or national commercial real estate brokerage firm. Reports like these come out quarterly, sometimes even monthly, and offer a useful snapshot of fundamentals like office vacancy rates, leasing and sales volume, and often a breakdown of activity in submarkets. While these are no doubt important figures in understanding the health of an office market, in today’s complicated economic landscape, it helps to look at other sources and take a more thorough approach. Here are some non-traditional sources of information that can provide important insight for investors.
Measuring foot traffic is commonly used as a good way to look at customers in the retail sector but it’s gaining popularity as a useful metric in the office industry. Foot traffic data generated from cell phone locations can help reveal daily activity patterns and identify hotspots in “micro-locations,” said Julia Georgules, Head of Americas Research & Strategy at JLL. “We can then further analyze those hotspots to understand the characteristics, amenities, and businesses driving traffic in those locations,” Georgules said.
There are a number of different platforms that measure foot traffic and offer subscriptions to access the data. In many cities, local business improvement districts and similar organizations partner with providers to measure footfalls, and the information is often available free of charge. Foot traffic data can not only tell you how many people are visiting
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