Why Vacant Offices Won’t Be Converted To Housing

Major cities across the US are experiencing high office-vacancy rates. In San Francisco, for example, the commercial vacancy rate reached 15.4 percent, more than double what it was two years ago. Despite the rising levels of homelessness (more than 560,000 people nationwide), these offices spaces likely won’t be converted into housing because such conversions can be expensive and take a long time. “You combine this market reality with the large amount of underutilized land where it is cheaper to build a new four- to five-story apartment complex than convert an existing office building to housing,” said Alan Stephenson, director of the Phoenix Planning and Development Department.

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