Office space in New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., has been strong, but it's also gotten pricey to buy into. So where can employers and investors go for the next opportunity?
Real estate investment management firm JLL says look to NERDS for the answer: Nashville, East Bay, Raleigh-Durham, Denver and Salt Lake City have expanding metros and lower prices than the U.S. average.
Companies looking for office space can get rental rates that are on average 35 percent lower than the average U.S. rate.
For investors in office REITs, these cities offer a higher return with so-called cap rates, or income returns, between 5.5 and 7.5 percent. REITs such as Brandywine, Mack-Cali, First Potomac and Parkway Properties could look to these cities for growth. "These markets are going to become attractive as these other markets continue to get hot, driven by millennials which are going for quality of life," said Stephen Collins, who leads the America Capital Markets business of JLL.
The country music capital isn't just about the music industry, but rather is anchored by jobs in education and health care, which account for 15.5 percent of jobs. Vanderbilt University is attracting young people who are willing to stay, helping revive the downtown area. On Wednesday, Bridgestone America broke ground on a 30-story, $200 million headquarters in downtown, which will bring in 1,700 workers.
Office employment: 208,100 or 25 percent of total employment
Vacancy rate: 8.6 percent