Boston has enjoyed a solid and steady recovery since 2012 and the healthy momentum continues. In fact, we are adding jobs at the fastest pace since 2000. Since 1980, Boston has created an average of 1,600 jobs per month, and the region is now trending well above this long-run average.
The dynamic growth sectors of technology and biomedical research are leading the recent job gains. The solid core industries of healthcare and financial services continue to grow as well, outpacing both state and national averages. Boston leads the country in wage growth and is among only three U.S. metropolitan areas to exceed the U.S. growth rate.
This momentum, combined with a recovery from a very tough winter, led to a significant jump in leasing activity and rents this quarter. For Greater Boston, direct averaging asking rents increased 8.3 percent year-over-year and total vacancy dipped to 14.1 percent, nearing 2007 lows. Rents were up over 5.0 percent in 9 of 12 submarkets led by nearly 20.0 percent growth in supply constrained East Cambridge.
As the market continues to tighten, value seeking tenants are finding fewer options to select from. Smaller suites are going quickly and there is a lack of availability in lower-priced space across the market. As a result, tenants are increasingly renewing and expanding within a building rather than looking to the market for options to increase space efficiency or reduce expenses. For leases completed in Q2, nearly half were renewals or expansions, up from 17.0 percent in Q1.