During this pandemic, the biggest question in the coworking industry is recovery. While we're wedged into our tiny apartments stuck on uncomfortable IKEA chairs, we're all asking ourselves when we can return to the office in any capacity, and what that will look like. Is coworking recovering, and if so, where? How has COVID-19 impacted primary and secondary coworking markets in the North America? Are some cities rebounding faster? According to Upsuite data, market recovery is uneven - while some markets are starting to rebound, others are not. So let's unpack that.
Demand, or "shopping," for coworking spaces bottomed out in April, and is now on the rebound (we covered this here). As companies are coming to grips with near-term uncertainty, their real estate strategies are evolving to include temporary, decentralized solutions (did someone say "coworking"?). With that, the number of online searches for new spaces is growing monthly. However, due to the variation in COVID-responses, closures and case counts across states, recovery varies heavily market-by-market.
The good news is that despite a significant drop in activity by flex providers in Q2 2020, a number of markets are on the rebound, and a select few have already surpassed pre-Covid peaks. Increasingly, customers are browsing again.
No Recovery Yet
While the west coast markets are dealing with a delayed pandemic response, demand for coworking space in several east coast gateway cities and Colorado is starting to return. Monthly views on Upsuite coworking listings are growing steadily in Washington, D.C., New York City and Denver. While not yet recovered, the uptick is steady. Since bottoming out at 60% of peak search volume in April, D.C. has recovered 13%. New York City took a huge hit, losing 75% of its peak search volume, and has recovered almost half of it, or 42%. Denver, on the other hand, has recovered only 20% of its pandemic loss in search demand.
Washington, D.C., New York City and Denver are slowly rebounding post-covid. (Flex Office Pro by Upsuite)
On the Rebound
Remarkably, the four coworking markets in Chicago, Houston, Miami and Boston not only fully recovered from a drop in search views since COVID-19, but actually managed to reach new monthly peaks since. Chicago is an interesting market in that it never significantly dropped due to the pandemic. April search volume dropped a mere 7% from its March pre-COVID peak, and 42% from its pre-covid peak to a new post-covid peak in May. It has fluctuated with pandemic changes, but has generally remained higher than pre-pandemic levels. The same is true for Houston and Miami. Post-covid peaks increased from pre-covid peaks by 42.5% for Houston and 18% for Miami. Boston has rebounded to its pre-pandemic peak and will likely surpass this in September, based on its current rate of growth in search views on Upsuite.
Search views for Chicago, Houston, Miami and Boston have fully rebounded and continue to grow. (Flex Office Pro by Upsuite)
According to Google, Colorado has the highest interest for coworking space in the U.S. On Upsuite, locations in Denver receive 20% more monthly views than NYC. Denver is also the third most popular market, behind Toronto and Chicago. Markets like Denver are currently attracting high levels of shopping activity.
On Google Search, Colorado is the sub region with the highest interest in "coworking". (Google Trends)