Q4 2020 Baltimore Market Report

Baltimore office market fundamentals continued to face significant shocks into the fourth quarter of 2020. Leasing activity continued to slow, reaching an all-time yearly low, dropping nearly 38% from 2019 levels. Fourth-quarter vacancy continued to rise, end at 14.4%, up 70 basis points from year-ago levels. 2020 marked the first time since 2013 Baltimore vacancy decreased from year-over-year levels. Occupancy losses were recorded at -362,946 SF in the fourth quarter, the lowest levels seen since 2014. Average office asking rates recorded a $0.65/SF increase from year-ago levels, ending at $24.88/SF. Though third-quarter asking rates dropped from previous quarterly levels, fourth-quarter rates increased $0.18/SF. Asking rates show comparatively flat growth, demonstrating that rates have been relatively insulated from pandemic-influenced changes. The flat growth is dissimilar to large swings in Baltimore vacancy and net absorption. Though the pandemic has induced recessionary trends to the market, optimism surrounding vaccine distribution in 2021 is expected to increase overall market activity.