While the pandemic has certainly led to a drop in investment sales overall and in the office sector in particular, transactions are still taking place.
In the first quarter of the year, investors closed on $10.5 billion in office acquisitions around the country, according to the CommercialEdge listing network, which is powered by data firm YardiMatrix. The figure was more than a 50 percent drop from the $20 billion in office transactions that took place in the first quarter of last year, which largely includes pre-pandemic sales volume. CommercialEdge only tracks office buildings totaling 50,000 sq. ft. or greater.
In contrast, real estate data firm Real Capital Analytics reported $20.5 billion in office investment sales taking place in the first quarter, a year-over-year change of 36 percent. RCA tracks properties and portfolios valued at $2.5 million or more.
CommercialEdge's data also shows that investors have tended to prefer the same types of office buildings as before—those in core locations. Three transactions, each involving an asset in a major U.S. city—New York, San Francisco and Dallas—accounted for almost one-fourth of the total office investment sales volume in the first quarter of 2021, CommercialEdge reports. Other markets that have seen a high volume of sales recently include the San Francisco Bay Area, Miami and Los Angeles, among others.
To get a better sense of where investors have been buying office buildings in the first quarter, here are CommercialEdge’s top 20 markets for office investment sales in the first quarter, with a breakdown of overall volume and average sales price per square foot.