News Releases

Q1 2022 Commercial Space Report: Lease transactions up; square footage commitments down

cover imageNumber of lease transactions could exceed 2021

May 11, 2022 – Silicon Valley’s largest technology companies may have overcome pandemic-related setbacks in their return-to-office planning, according to the latest analysis from Joint Venture Silicon Valley’s Institute for Regional Studies, in partnership with JLL Silicon Valley in their third-quarter Silicon Valley Commercial Space report, published today.

Notably, Apple, Google, and Meta have implemented return-to-office programs, signaling a near-normal level of in-office operations. Leasing volume in Silicon Valley continued at a steady cadence in Q1, in-line with historical figures, despite increasing construction and fit-out costs. Meanwhile, regional commercial space rental rates increased slightly, in aggregate, following two years in which they had been artificially held steady. As a result, there were high watermarks observed in Q1 for Industrial and Lab space. Leasing volume was similar to that of 2021 yet there was an increased number of total leases executed in Q1, indicating a smaller average amount of space per lease.

Construction completions were limited while the construction pipeline for the region remains healthy and construction costs have rapidly increased since December 2020. Asking rates have continued to maintain an upward trajectory. Rental rates for Lab and Industrial space reached new all-time highs in Q1 and landlords have continued to explore opportunities to secure higher rents by converting Office or Flex R&D space which is in short supply.

“We’ve seen a dramatic rebound of local Flex/R&D space in the first quarter, with considerable declines in both vacancy and total availability,” said JLL’s Northern California Director of Research, Alexander Quinn. “The primary drivers have been from the demand from the advanced manufacturing/AI/mobility industries, as well as the ongoing trend of converting existing Flex/R&D into specialized lab space.”

Key findings:

  • A total of 628,000 square feet of Silicon Valley commercial space was completed through Q1 2022.
  • There were more than 260 commercial lease transactions in Silicon Valley in just the first quarter of Q1 2022, compared to an annual total of 882 in 2021 and 481 in 2020. 
  • The average amount of square feet committed per lease continues to trend downward, reaching the lowest it has been since 2009.
  • Vacancy rates overall have declined slightly, with only a minuscule amount of growth in vacancy rates for Office (up only 0.2 percentage points in Q1). In contrast, Industrial, Lab, and Flex/R&D vacancy rates have continued a downward trend through Q1 2022.
  • Office space rental rates in Silicon Valley remained lower in Q1 than in New York City (by 17%) but higher than Austin (by 25%), Seattle (by 31%), Portland (by 50%), and Denver (by 53%).
  • Office rents have fluctuated since prior to the pandemic at locations near and not near to transit (within a 10-minute walk of a Caltrain, BART, or VTA station). Asking rents appear to have recovered, and were 64% higher near transit in Q1 2022 than not near transit.
  • A total of 7.9 million square feet of new commercial office space was under construction throughout the Bay Area in Q1 2022. Of that total, 5.6 million square feet (71%) has been pre-leased, primarily (98.2%) to tech companies. 

Download report Learn more

For further reference

To access Silicon Valley’s online data hub, visit www.siliconvalleyindicators.org.

About the Silicon Valley Institute for Regional Studies

The Silicon Valley Institute for Regional Studies is the research arm of Joint Venture Silicon Valley, and is housed within the organization. The Institute provides research and analysis on a host of issues facing Silicon Valley’s economy and society. For more information, visit www.siliconvalleyindicators.org.

About Joint Venture Silicon Valley

Established in 1993, Joint Venture provides analysis and action on issues affecting the Silicon Valley economy and quality of life. The organization brings together established and emerging leaders—from business, government, academia, labor and the broader community—to spotlight issues, launch projects and work toward innovative solutions. For more information, visit www.jointventure.org.

About JLL

JLL is a leading professional services firm that specializes in real estate and investment management. A Fortune 500 company, JLL helps real estate owners, occupiers and investors achieve their business ambitions. JLL is the brand name, and a registered trademark, of Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated. www.jll.com/silicon-valley.

Media Kit

To view a collection of resources for members of the media and others interested in sharing information about our work, please visit our Media Kit page.

News Coverage

Joint Venture's initiatives, publications, events and regional expertise receive frequent coverage in the national and local news media. Our staff is always available to comment on economic trends in Silicon Valley.

View news coverage