Investment in US life sciences real estate increased 62% last year.
Investment in US life sciences real estate is poised to grow another 10% minimum this year, according to new research from CBRE’s capital markets team.
That’s on top of a whopping 62% increase last year. Investment in life sciences real estate reached $21.4 billion in 2021, the firm says, and investment in the sector has grown by 111% since 2018. “The surge in investment in the US life sciences market is underpinned by strong supply and demand fundamentals,” said Chris Bodnar, Vice Chairman and Co-Head of Healthcare & Life Sciences Capital Markets at CBRE. “A shortage of existing life sciences space available for purchase, coupled with robust and soaring property prices, have led most real estate investors focused on this sector to pursue development opportunities.”
In addition to established markets like Boston, San Francisco, and San Diego, several other new markets are emerging as investor hotspots. They include Los Angeles, Philadelphia and New York.
Between Q2 2020 and Q4 2021, the number of life sciences developers in the top 12 life sciences markets CBRE tracks rose to 64 from 45, with space under construction rising to 29.5 million sq. ft. from 16.2 million sq. ft. over the same period, the firm said.
“With lab vacancy rates near record lows, this new development activity should give more space options to occupiers and more opportunities for investors in this booming sector,” Bodnar said.
The most active investors are the top five owners of US life sciences real estate: Alexandria Real Estate Equities, BioMed Realty (Blackstone’s life sciences arm), Healthpeak Properties, Ventas and Longfellow. The report notes that Alexandria Real Estate Equities reported more than $900 million of acquisitions in January alone and expects more than 8 million sq. ft. of active development throughout the year.
Life science companies sought nearly 24 million square feet of new real estate in the third quarter alone, according to CBRE. That exceeds the amount of lab space under spec construction by nearly 2.8 million sq. ft.
“Life sciences labs quickly are becoming a highly sought-after property type for both tenants and investors,” said Ian Anderson, CBRE’s Americas Head of Office Research. “This intense demand for lab space is the natural result of a global push for new medicines begetting strong funding and hiring in the life sciences sector.”