The impact of COVID on the culture and utility of working-in-an-office is a topic that has drawn more than its share of airtime in the 14 months since the pandemic was declared. And where it will go in the future – once we’ve all been vaccinated and life returns to normal – is still one of those ‘to be determined’ subjects.
Will people return to offices, especially high rises downtown? Or will the work-from-home thing permanently change the way work is housed? Or…will tenants tell landlords they need less space and began to shrink their corporate footprint?
While answers to none of those are readily available, one thing we do know is that the COVID world did reduce the demand for office space – especially downtown space. A new report on the state of that part of the Saskatoon and Regina real estate markets prepared by ICR shows a softening of demand.
Vacancy rates in Saskatoon have risen to nearly 16% while Regina’s rose to 13% in the first quarter of this year compared to the same time a year ago and the most noticeable impact was in the downtown cores.