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10 Hot Markets for Commercial Real Estate Investing

“Hot,” when it comes to CRE markets, depends on what chair you’re sitting in — the investor’s, developer’s, lessor’s, lessee’s or any business within the CRE supply chain. For someone looking to lease space, a hot CRE market means excessive space, lower rents and the power to negotiate. For developers, property managers, builders and suppliers of goods and services, a hot CRE market is when demand is high and supply is low. 


For this post, we looked at a number of factors — including absorption, vacancy rates, and rent growth — to identify some of the hotter markets in the U.S. for commercial real estate development, management, investment and growth.


What makes a CRE market competitive?

Many factors make a CRE market attractive and competitive. These are three of the factors that we reference frequently in our top 10 list.


Absorption, or absorption rate: Refers to the change in available commercial or industrial space over a period of time. For context, absorption in residential real estate typically refers to units (as in number of houses or condos), while CRE is expressed in square footage. Strong net absorption suggests a healthy demand for commercial real estate (CRE), which is good for developers, owners and investors.


Vacancy rates: Measures the percentage of unoccupied rental space in a market. Low rates indicate high demand, making it competitive and attractive for investors, while high rates suggest excess supply, providing more options for tenants.


Rent growth: Refers to the percentage increase in rental rates over a specific period, indicating market health and attractiveness for investors. Positive growth suggests strong demand and potential returns, while negative or stagnant growth may present challenges or opportunities for tenants in lease negotiations.


7 hottest CRE markets in the US


Dallas-Fort Worth, TX

CRE office vacancy rate in Dallas-Fort Worth: 17.98%

Dallas-Fort Worth is a major metropolitan area in the heart of the state known for its economic dynamism and diverse business landscape. Commonly referred to as the DFW Metroplex, this region encompasses Dallas and Fort Worth, contributing significantly to the state's economic strength. The area's biggest employers are transportation, finance, insurance, real estate, healthcare and manufacturing (Dallas Chamber of Commerce). This city is thriving in terms of CRE opportunities because of its strong economy, abundance of office jobs, and advancements in tech and biotech innovation.


Demand for office space in Dallas-Fort Worth was stronger in 2023 than nationwide, as this area has a faster absorption rate. Dallas-Fort Worth is a top 10 area with the largest office vacancy rates at 17.98%. Demand for multifamily, retail and industrial space is also stronger in this area than nationwide (National Association of Realtors). More than 6.57 million people lived in Dallas-Fort Worth in 2023, according to World Population Review, and it's expected to grow to over 6.65 million in 2024. The top employers in the area include American Airlines, AT&T, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Kroger, Lockheed Martin, and Texas Instruments (Dallas Chamber of Commerce).


Biscred’s database includes 3,548 CRE companies and 62,962 professionals who work in the CRE industry in Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas. 



New York, NY

NYC CRE office vacancy rate: 13.5%

New York City is located in the southeastern part of the state, at the southern tip. The city is composed of five boroughs: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, and Staten Island. The area's biggest employers are in finance, media, health insurance and IT consulting (topworkplaces.com). Demand for office and retail space in the NY metro area* is stronger than nationwide (NAR). New York City has a 2024 population of 7.6 million, down 3.48% from 2023, according to World Population Review. The top employers in the area include Capital One, Horizon Media, Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield and CGI (topworkplaces.com).


*NAR’s evaluation of Metropolitan New York City includes Manhattan, Newark, Jersey City and NY-NJ-PA metro areas. 


Biscred’s CRE database includes roughly 6,253 companies and 75,922 CRE professionals who work in the tri-state NYC-metro area.



Savannah, GA

CRE office vacancy rate for Savannah: 1.59%

Savannah is located in the southeastern part of the state of Georgia. It is situated along the Savannah River, near the border with South Carolina. The city is known for its historic architecture, charming squares, and proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, which makes it a major U.S. port city. The area's biggest employers are healthcare, retail and energy (source: Savannah Chamber of Commerce). Savannah is a top 10 area with the lowest office vacancy rates at 1.59%, (NAR). Savannah has a 2024 population of 145,265, decreasing by 1.65% since 2020, according to World Population Review. The top employers in the area include St. Joseph's Candler, Memorial University Medical Center, Walmart, and Colonial Group (source: Savannah Chamber of Commerce). With Hyundai and LG set to open an electric vehicle battery plant in 2025, the area is a place to watch for CRE development, investment and business opportunities.


Biscred’s CRE database includes 300 CRE-related companies and 16,321 professionals who work in the CRE industry.


Chicago, IL

Chicago metro CRE office vacancy rate: 16.22%

Chicago is located in the northeastern part of Illinois, along the southwestern shore of Lake Michigan. As the largest city in Illinois, Chicago is a major cultural, financial, and transportation hub in the Midwest. Chicago is a top 10 area with the largest office vacancy rates at 16.22% (NAR). The area's biggest employers are financial consulting, real estate and banking (topworkplaces). Demand for retail and industrial space is stronger than nationwide, as this area has had a faster absorption rate (NAR). Chicago's population in 2024 was 2.56 million, according to World Population Review, although it has been declining at a rate of -1.65% annually. The top employers in the area include Berkshire Hathaway, Charles Schwab, Compass (real estate) and Capital One (topworkplaces).



Biscred’s CRE database includes 3,161 companies and 59,843 professionals who work in the CRE industry in or near Chicago.


Phoenix, AZ

CRE office vacancy rate in Greater Phoenix: 16.07%

Phoenix is located in the central part of Arizona, in the Salt River Valley, also known as the Valley of the Sun. It is the capital and largest city of Arizona and is known for its warm climate, urban amenities, and vibrant cultural scene. Phoenix is a top 10 area with the largest office vacancy rates at 16.07% (NAR). Demand for multifamily, retail and industrial space is stronger than nationwide, shown by the area’s faster absorption rate (NAR). The area's biggest employers are mortgage, construction, financial services and insurance (topworkplaces). Phoenix has a 2024 population of just under 1.7 million, according to the World Population Review, and is growing at a rate of 0.82% annually. Its population has increased by 3.32% since the most recent census, which recorded a population of 1.6 million in 2020. The top employers in the area include Fairway Independent Mortgage, McCarthy Building Companies, American Express, Discover and Progressive (topworkplaces).



Biscred’s CRE contact data includes 1,961 companies and 45,383 professionals in the Phoenix-Scottsdale area.


Houston, TX

CRE office vacancy rate in Houston: 18.74%

Houston is located in the southeastern part of Texas. It is situated near the Gulf of Mexico and is the largest city in Texas. It's known for its role as a major hub for the energy industry, diverse cultural offerings, and being home to NASA's Johnson Space Center. Houston is a top 10 area with the largest vacancy rates at 18.74% (NAR). Demand for office, multifamily, retail and industrial space is stronger than nationwide, shown by the area’s absorption rate (NAR). The Houston area's biggest employers are in real estate, engineering, construction, and hospitality (topworkplaces). Houston has a 2024 population of 2.25 million, according to the World Population Review, and is declining at 0.51% annually. Its population has decreased by 2.03% since the most recent census, which recorded a population of 2.3 million in 2020. The top employers in the area include CB&A Realtors, LJA Engineering, Camden Property Trust, Burns & McDonnell and Hilton Americas-Houston (topworkplaces).



Biscred’s database for CRE B2B contacts in the Houston area includes 3,272 companies and 51,039 professionals.


Austin, TX

CRE office vacancy rate in Austin, Texas: 16.70%

Austin is located in the central part of Texas, in Travis County, along the Colorado River. Austin is the capital of Texas and is known for its vibrant music scene, technology industry, outdoor activities, and numerous lakes and parks. Austin is a top 10 area with the largest vacancy rates at 16.7% (NAR). Demand for multifamily, retail and industrial space is stronger than nationwide, suggested by its fast absorption rate (NAR). The area's biggest employers are technology companies, insurance, financial services, and teacher retirement services (topworkplaces). Austin has a 2024 population of 967,351 according to the World Population Review, and is growing at a rate of 0.11% annually. Its population has increased by 0.44% since the most recent census, which recorded a population of 963,121 in 2020. The top employers in the area include Cisco Systems, Progressive, Charles Schwab, Teacher Retirement System of Texas, and Dell.



Biscred’s data includes 3,140 CRE companies and 60,482 contacts in Austin and San Antonio. 


3 Honorable Mentions: Potentially Emerging CRE Areas


Providence, RI

CRE office vacancy rate: 5.6%

Providence is located in northeastern Rhode Island, in Providence County. It is the capital and largest city of Rhode Island, situated on Narragansett Bay, which contributes to its historical significance and cultural charm. Demand for office and industrial space is stronger than nationwide (NAR). This area landed on our list because of its multi-family asking rent growth rate. The area's biggest employers are plastics, healthcare equipment, information technology and healthcare (topworkplaces). Providence has a 2024 population of 188,471, according to the World Population Review, and is declining at a rate of 0.21% annually. Its population has decreased by 0.86% since the most recent census, which recorded a population of 190,101 in 2020. The top employers in the area include igus, CME Corp, Saalex Corp and University Orthopedics (topworkplaces).


Biscred’s data includes 233 CRE-affiliated companies in Providence (905 statewide), and 11,795 CRE professionals (13,106 statewide).


Rockford, Illinois

CRE office vacancy rate: 7.4%

Rockford is located in the northern part of Illinois. It is situated in Winnebago County, along the Rock River. It's the third-largest city in Illinois and is known for its manufacturing history, cultural attractions, and outdoor recreational opportunities. Demand for office space is stronger than nationwide, making rent prices rise faster than the national average. The area's biggest employers are healthcare, aerospace, logistics & distribution, and retail (rockfordil.com). The top employers in the area include UW Health, Mercyhealth, OSF Healthcare, Collins Aerospace and UPS (rockfordil.com).


Rockford has 121 companies and 362 professionals in Biscred’s CRE contact database. 


Wilmington, North Carolina

CRE office vacancy rate: 1.76%

Wilmington is a port city in North Carolina, located in the southeast portion of the state in New Hanover County. The area's biggest employers are healthcare, accommodations and food services, retail trade, professional/scientific/technical services, and construction (Wilmington Chamber of Commerce). While demand for office space in this area was weaker than average in the U.S. in 2023, it is stronger than average for multifamily, retail, and industrial CRE (National Association of Realtors). More than 115,000 people lived in Wilmington in 2023, according to World Population Review, and it's expected to grow to over 122,000 in 2024. The top employers in the area include GE, New Hanover Regional, Novant Health, Bank of America, Corning, PPD (Pharmaceutical Product Development), Verizon (call centers), nCino (fintech company) and University of North Carolina Wilmington (Zippia).


Biscred’s database includes 297 companies and 12,029 professionals in the CRE business.


Ready to Grow Your CRE Business in These Areas? 

For each of the 10 metro areas, we included a count of the number of CRE-related businesses and CRE professionals to help illustrate the B2B opportunities for companies that want to grow their businesses. See for yourself how easy it is to find and connect with commercial real estate professionals in these hot markets. Set up a Biscred demo.

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