According to Moody’s Analytics, the Scranton-Wilkes Barre-Hazleton metro area is projected to register job gains in 2018, led by healthcare and transportation-warehousing. Although these sectors are not necessarily demand drivers for office space, expansion in these sectors may have a ripple effect to other parts of the local economy.
Ongoing conversion of older office buildings into new apartments will continue to remove obsolete stock from the office inventory, helping overall occupancy. Other buildings will be undergoing renovations such as the Scranton Enterprise Center, or conversion to mixed-use including apartments and retail.
Overall office leasing demand is predicted to remain stable, but vary widely by locale. Suburban settings such as Glenmaura, Plains/Pittston, and East Mountain will be among the stronger, and the Wilkes-Barre CBD will benefit from Guard Insurance’s decision to keep its headquarters downtown.
Average occupancy and rent are likely to experience only modest improvement again in 2018. Bank of America will be contracting its back office/call center operations in Moosic, which may result in a spike in Class A vacancy during the third quarter.