Though the pandemic led to reductions in office leasing by financial services firms in gateway markets, a recent report by JLL found a notable leasing resurgence by those firms.
Since 2022, gateway markets—Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.—accounted for nearly 44% of the total space leased by financial services firms. This improvement has resulted in a rebound to pre-pandemic norms. At the pandemic’s peak in 2020 and 2021, the share of financial services leasing in gateway markets fell from 42% in 2019 to 34%.
The occupancy rebound is good news for major financial services hubs that had been experiencing occupancy reductions in offices within urban cores. The improvement appears to have staying power. Financial services companies are prioritizing talent cultivation and innovation, and continue to prize centralized locations in key financial services hubs to maintain a robust talent pipeline and achieve long-term business goals, JLL says.
Demand in growth markets—Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Dallas, Denver, Miami, Nashville, Phoenix, Raleigh, and San Diego—remains resilient and accounts for a fifth of overall financial leasing. But near-term growth in those cities is expected to be at a slower pace than the post-pandemic response, as firms maintain expense discipline.