The Pittsburgh Market: 2012 Accolades and 2013 Honors

skyline-background.jpgSources: Allegheny Conference on Community Development; Imagine Pittsburgh; National Geographic Traveler, Sperling’s BestPlaces; Brookings Institute; The Economist; Bloomberg Businessweek; The Fiscal Times; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh Business Times; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Pittsburgh has a new and amazing year ahead of itself. Our reinvented economy is among the factors offering plenty to celebrate, as 2013 marks the 30 year anniversary of Pittsburgh’s economy hitting bottom, with the steel industry collapse crippling the region. Today, Pittsburgh is progressing, and continues to be credited as a city renewed, boasting a diverse economy, growing youth population and stable real estate market. Whether recognized by a “Best of the World” place to visit by National Geographic Traveler, paid tribute in Sperling’s BestPlaces as the best city to relocate to in the United States, or honored as one of just three metros in the nation that have fully recovered from the Great Recession by Brookings’ Global Metro Monitor, Pittsburgh has earned top honors as a great place to live, work and play. Even the Today Show is on board, recently announcing that the travel website/magazine Jetsetter listed Pittsburgh among the top travel spots around the world for 2013, and The Fiscal Times has recently honored Pittsburgh as one of the 15 best cities to grow old in.

The economic index is in our favor as well. In November 2012, Pittsburgh ranked as the #8 Metro Area (out of 102) on the On Numbers Economic Index (ONEI), an 18-part formula that assesses private-sector job growth, unemployment, earnings, housing-price appreciation, construction, and retail activity. The Allegheny Conference on Community Development reports just 30 years ago the metro unemployment rate was 18.4 percent, and in 1984, more than 50,000 left the region. Today, Pittsburgh ranks fifth among the best-performing economies, ahead of Dallas and Washington, D.C., and our region is the only metro in the industrial Midwest to make the top ten, as noted by The Economist which examines employment growth in the five years since the onset of the Great Recession.

A robust office market nearly as good as it was 30 years ago, new corporate leaders, a more diversified, service-oriented economy and a residential renaissance are factors fueling the economic engine of Pittsburgh. Combine that with our regional success in research and development, technological and biological innovation, along with an economy that continually fosters entrepreneurship, and its no wonder that our region continues to receive national and international praise. Pittsburgh was awarded the Economist Intelligence Unit’s title of the most livable city in the US, the top-ranked large city in fDi’s 2011/12 American Cities of the Future ranking, and National Geographic Traveler’s inclusion in its Best of the World 2012 ranking.

Pittsburgh office market performance continues to be strong, with an increased amount of activity and tenant movement. The office vacancy rate is steadily declining on a quarter over quarter basis, as Class A buildings continue to fill with new leases, expansions and renewals. Plans of new construction are on the horizon, employment rates are improving, and there is solid momentum in absorption. Pittsburgh is performing well ahead of the US average, and is expected to continue in a positive direction into the next quarter. Under-utilized Class B and C properties are being converted into residential use, and demand for a mixed-use “live-work-play” community continues to be the focus for adding vibrancy to downtown Pittsburgh and lifting occupancy rates. The total number of city residents has increased from 1,000 seven years ago, to over 7,000 today. High performance banking, healthcare, energy and education sectors are driving positive growth, along with favorable trends in housing recovery and residential opportunities downtown.

“The residential effect on Pittsburgh’s office vacancy rates come as no surprise to real estate professionals in this market,” states Paul Horan, Founding Principal at Colliers International | Pittsburgh. “We remain cautiously optimistic that the overall trend of positive absorption in Pittsburgh’s office market will continue, providing for a slow but steady increase in rental rates, and further diminish supply, particularly of Class “A” office space. This will create momentum in the development community to bring NEW Class “A” product to both Pittsburgh’s CBD and Greater CBD.”

Posted on January 8, 2013, in Accomplishments, Achievements, Economy, Office and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on The Pittsburgh Market: 2012 Accolades and 2013 Honors.

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