Quarterly Market Report
Baltimore Metropolitan Statistical Area
Regional Economy Filled with Promise in ‘17
Presented by Anirban Basu, Sage Policy Group
Fueled by healthcare, cyber-security, government contracting, and logistics, the Baltimore-Columbia-Towson metropolitan statistical area continues to be at the vanguard of Maryland’s economic growth. Between November 2015 and November 2016, the region added 23,600 jobs, or roughly three-fourths of all the jobs added in Maryland. That translated into 1.7% job growth, better than the statewide (1.1%) and national (1.6%) averages.
While there is a presumption that the jobs of today are not nearly as good as the ones of the past in terms of compensation, recent data tells a more nuanced story. Professional and business services, which encompasses a mix of jobs ranging from very high wage to entry level, accounted for 46% of the metropolitan area’s job growth during the most recent twelve-month period for which data exist. Education and health services, which also embodies a mix of high-, medium-, and low-wage positions, chipped in another 35% of the region’s net new job creation.
Over the past year, the regional unemployment rate has dipped from 5% to 4.2%, one of the lower rates of unemployment among the nation’s 25 largest metropolitan areas. The decline in regional unemployment has occurred despite the addition of 30,000 people to the area’s labor force. The Washington metropolitan area has added jobs even more quickly and has a lower regional unemployment rate; circumstances that support additional employment opportunities for residents of the Baltimore area.
The year ahead should be another year of progress. Realtors are expecting a banner spring housing market as growing urgency to take advantage of still low mortgage rates meets growing job security and rising wages. Apartment leasing should also be brisk. The region can also point to a number of signature developments that create the capacity to accommodate large-scale investment. These include the redevelopment of downtown Columbia, major investments in a number of Baltimore County submarkets including Towson and Tradepoint Atlantic, as well as Port Covington and Harbor Point in Baltimore City. Potential federal tax cuts and expected increases in defense spending could also position the region for faster economic growth during the months ahead.
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MacKenzie tracks buildings that meet the following requirements and identifies these buildings as true reflectors of commercial real estate activity within the Baltimore Metropolitan Statistical Market (MSA). Office: Buildings 15,000 square feet (sf ) in size and greater in the Metro areas within Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, and Howard County, buildings 20,000 sf in size and greater within Baltimore’s City Center, buildings 10,000 sf in size and greater in the Metro areas within Harford County, and buildings 5,000 sf in size and greater within Annapolis city limits. Industrial: Single-story warehouse buildings, and flex buildings greater than 5,000 sf. Retail: Buildings in Baltimore City and Metro areas within the surrounding counties 2,000 sf in size and greater, MacKenzie does not track owner occupied buildings or medical facilities.
Once the data has been meticulously examined and verified as an accurate depiction of the current state of the market, our research team updates each report to highlight noteworthy events and activities that bear a significant influence on our market landscape. This comprehensive review of activity within Baltimore’s commercial real estate market provides our clients a full-spectrum view and supports data-driven decision making.