Despite increase in coworking spaces, San Francisco remains one the most expensive places to rent a desk

by John Williams

San Francisco is one of the most expensive places in the world in which to rent a desk, with average monthly costs ranging between $950 in Downtown to $1500 in the exclusive Financial District. Despite this, research by Instant Offices indicates the city’s flex workspace market is also one of the fastest growing in the world, alongside New York and Los Angeles.

In 2017, San Francisco experienced a 13% increase in centers offering co-working, flexible and hybrid office space. This was against an already established base, with high desk rates indicating the strength of the market.

Center Growth YoY

Area Growth 2016 vs 2017 Serviced Co-working Hybrid Other
San Francisco 13% 41% 22% 33% 4%
South of Market 14% 13% 37% 50% 0%
Downtown 0% 60% 0% 40% 0%
Financial District 15% 50% 25% 25% 0%
Nob Hill 25% 25% 25% 50% 0%

As demand for space in the city continues to soar, impressive YoY growth in the flexible and co-working sector means businesses can still afford to secure space in San Francisco’s most popular districts.

Area Average Desk Cost Number of Centers
Downtown $950 5
South of Market $998 16
San Francisco $1,046  94
Nob Hill $1,192 4
Financial District $1,500 8

As more businesses swap the constraints of traditional offices for agile workspaces, flexible leases and improved networking opportunities, San Francisco’s established city market continues to dominate. No longer just for freelancers, remote workers and start-ups, large corporates are also seeking new opportunities and long-term flexibility, and brands like IBM, Amazon, Glassdoor and Sephora have joined the city’s expanding tenant base.

Additional research by Instant Offices, which collates more than 20 years of data, shows businesses can save up to 73% by choosing flexible office space over conventional leased space in the world’s major cities.

San Francisco’s Popular Districts

Several operators in San Francisco are highly focused on targeting tech start-ups, but there is growing number of operators focusing on niche businesses in film, print and new media. With sensational growth of flexible space in the US overall and the expansion of large operators like WeWork into key areas, it is worth noting that more than half of all centers are run by independent operators, some of the city’s most notable including Knotel, Onepiece, TechSpace and Werqwise.

Downtown San Francisco
Average Desk Cost: $950
Downtown centers offering serviced offices saw a massive 60% increase last year. The Market Square development saw downtown San Francisco revived as Twitter became the lead tenant in the area, followed by brands like Dolby and Zendesk. Operators are opening several locations in up and coming Mid-Market.

South of Market
Average Desk Cost: $998
Demand for hybrid office space in trendy SoMa increased by a massive 50% last year as more centers began offering a combination of co-working and private office space. The Galvanize campus in this area is a highly sought-after base for start-ups and established companies in tech.

Nob Hill
Average Desk Cost: $1192
Start-ups, tech firms and media companies are increasingly interested in Jackson Square office space, and WeWork’s exclusive boutique center close to 100% capacity, which means Nob Hill’s appeal as a work hub is growing. Last year saw a 50% increase in hybrid office space as more business saw the hidden value flexible office space can offer in this exclusive area.

Financial District
Average Desk Cost: $1500
The Financial District saw impressive growth across the board with a 15% increase in the number of centers offering flexible workspace, a 50% increase in serviced offices and a 25% increase in both co-working and hybrid offerings. Highly anticipated 61-floor Salesforce building is the city’s newest and tallest building, and home to a number of high profile tenants, including WeWork and CBRE.

Image credit: Photo courtesy of Pixabay, edited by New Worker Magazine.

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