The third impact of technology on our commercial real estate landscape is through the workplace.
Here the confluence of demographics and improving technology is enabling and inspiring progressive companies to redesign how we think of space. Employees are clearly more mobile, as technology allows the flexibility to work from anywhere and on any device. But even within the space, tenants are harnessing more open, collaborative, flexible, efficient, and sustainable workplaces.
The driving force for tenants in the past was typically cost. Now, in addition to driving efficiency, the space itself is being looked at as a way to enable productivity as well as recruit top talent. These trends likely mean lower demand for commodity office space, and a redefinition of the characteristics driving space demand. Office space is not going away, but the target is moving.
One question that I always get is whether the tech boom is just the tech bubble 2.0. Is it sustainable? We recently did an analysis of technology P/E ratios as compared to the dot com bubble and found that valuations remain near the lows of the last 15 years. Today’s tech companies are cash rich and startups have been funded more conservatively. I won’t pretend to know what they all do, but many are making products that enhance and improve the lives of people and the productivity of businesses.
We think that this tech wave is still in its early to mid stage with plenty of room to run.