Enviable Demographics in a Live-Work-Play Environment
The Dupont Circle neighborhood embodies some of the most enviable demographics in the Washington, DC metropolitan region and beyond. The submarket boasts a strong and growing resident population that is both well paid and well educated. The median income for residents is almost $100,000 and a whopping 91% of the population over 25 has a Bachelor’s degree or higher. The population in the Dupont Circle neighborhood is also young, with a median age of 34. Thirty-one percent of residents are fortunate enough to be able to walk to work while also having easy access to main roads in the city including New Hampshire and Massachusetts avenues. The variety of lifestyle choice available is one of the key reasons many people live near Dupont Circle. This highly skilled workforce and ease of access will continue to be key in attracting large employers that are focused on quality of life and talent recruitment.
Due to its significant office inventory of 11.8 million square feet, the Dupont Circle neighborhood has historically been stable with new supply and large move outs of the submarket resulting in only minor swings in vacancy, but that may not be the case in the future. From 2008 to 2015, the vacancy rate stayed within a tight band of 12-14% but in 2016, there was a flurry of activity from large employers such as Miller & Chevalier, Medstar, and the Worldbank. By 2017, net absorption turned negative after the combination of notable downsizing and exits on the horizon coupled with significant new supply hitting the market. We now expect that vacancy in Dupont Circle will continue to climb through 2021 from its current rate of 12.5% to over 22% by 2022.
Demand in Washington, DC can be visualized as a pyramid with a very wide base. Sixty-five percent of the offices in the Dupont Circle market are spaces asking for $60 per square foot. Demand thins significantly in $60 to $70 full service office product. Despite the long-term trend of development at the high end of the market, the demolishing or extensive refurbishment of Class B assets have led to increasing rents in the Class A market while Class B rents have stayed relatively stable in the $50 FS range. Owners that have renovated Class B product to attract tenants through the addition of on onsite amenities such as conference facilities, high-end fitness facilities and rooftop decks, while maintaining lower than average rents, have outperformed in terms of lease up and rent growth. This means that tenants looking for space in Dupont in around the $60 per square foot price point have a plethora of options, but tenants looking to spend more or less have far fewer options.
Overall Market Outlook
The Dupont Circle neighborhood has several factors that make it a prime area for continued office growth. Recently in the broader Washington, DC Market, tightening vacancy throughout the Class B market and in the Central Business District, in particular, has led to increased outmigration to the West End, East End and Arlington County. The Dupont Circle neighborhood is still affected by changes that are being seen across the DC metro region–a shortage of Class B supply due to ownership renovations repositioning has made rents steadily climb.
Tenants looking for a location in Dupont Circle to attract employees, especially from the submarket’s many residents, should be aware of these trends and how the submarket is changing. We at Cushman & Wakefield are happy to help select specific options or to provide further analysis on how this submarket compares to others in the DC area.