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Study of Office Space

The Frankfurt market for office spaces was characterized in the Noughties by excess supply and stagnating rents. However, in the recent past is has clearly regained its vibrancy. This can be attributed among other things to the city’s prospering business world and the related demand for office space.
Against this backdrop, the City of Frankfurt Planning Dept. commissioned Baasner Stadtplaner GmbH and bulwiengesa AG to compile the present study of office spaces. It outlines the spatial range, supply and demand structures in the Frankfurt office market as well as current and future trends in it (Brexit, new office concepts, digitization, special role of office high-rises) incl. possible scenarios, and also highlights recommended course of action urban development planning could take in coming years.

Section of the cover page of the publication on office spaces: Büroflächenstudie Frankfurt am Main 2019 © City of Frankfurt Planning Dept.

Existing office spaces 2019

In the second quarter of 2019 a physical survey was made of existing office spaces by touring the entire city area. A total of 1,911 properties were recorded, each with a minimum size of 500 square meters of gross surface area (GSA), and a total area of about 12.0 million square meters of GSA. The total office spaces below the threshold for inclusion is estimated to be 0.5 million square meters. All in, existing office space comes to a GSA of 12.5 million square meters. The figure for office space per employee is 26 square meters of tenant space (tenant space as per the definition used by Gesellschaft für Immobilienwirtschaftliche Forschung e. V.). About 22 percent of the GSA is attributable to buildings that are 60 meters or higher. Six high-rise projects alone account for about 42 percent of office space currently under construction within the city limits. In terms of total existing office space, Frankfurt places fourth in Germany behind Berlin, Munich and Hamburg. Since 2010, the high vacancy ratio for leading German cities of at times almost 20 percent has been decreasing steadily not least owing to demolition and conversion work, and in 2019 ran at 6.9 percent and thus on a relatively modest level.

Study of office spaces in Frankfurt. Map showing existing office spaces © City of Frankfurt Planning Dept.

Expected trends through 2029 – scenarios and forecasts

The study on office space forecasts that the number of office employees will rise from 369,000 in 2019 to about 393,000 by 2029. This means that the strong upturn of the last ten years will start to flatten. The median forecast is of a growth in office spaces of some 1.1 million square meters GFA by 2029. This contrasts with totalized potential GFA of around 1.7 million square meters by 2029, something that does not always align with demand for space. As regards vacancies, for the next ten years there a clear rise of about 10 percent is forecast while at the same time rents are expected to stagnate or fall slightly.

COVID-19 pandemic and its impact

The fundamental study and the data on which it relies were mainly compiled prior to the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, the initial impacts on the Frankfurt office property market have been analyzed and interpreted. Thus, no major negative trend is expected compared to the above-mentioned forecast for office employee numbers on a ten-year comparison. The potentially weaker demand for office spaces will over a five-year forecasting period compare with delayed construction projects and thus a lower supply of new office spaces, as a result of which office space absorption will remain at a robust level in the future.

Contact partner(s)

Mr. Thomas Hickmann

Telephone: +49 (0)69 212 34930