Not surprisingly given the entrenchment of remote work in the U.S. work landscape, office investment sales were dismal in the first quarter of this year, with the pain most acute in CBDs, where property sales fell 78% from the prior year, according to MSCI's Capital Trends U.S. Office report. "This fall is especially painful for the CBD office market as that first quarter of 2022 was back to normal levels of deal activity as seen across all first quarter periods from 2005 to 2019," it wrote. 

Meanwhile in the suburban office market, deal volume also fell from a year ago but the change when viewed in the context of the long-run trend was not as staggering. The headline figure for deal volume was down 63% year-over-year but compared to the long-term trend volume it was down just 43% versus first-quarter sales of the same long 2005 to 2019 period. 

MSCI noted that the impact of megadeals can cloud the results in the suburban office market at times so it analyzed just the sale of individual assets finding that first quarter sales volume for individual assets averaged $9.2 billion from 2005 to 2019. "Relative to the long-run trend before the pandemic then, single asset suburban deal volume is only 26% lower than the average.

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