Real Estate Leases Signal Job Growth and Layoffs

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Commercial realtors probably know about hirings and firings well before many. Once leases are signed, the increase or drop in lease space is a very good indicator of whether or not staff changes are on the horizon. For instance, Bank of America has and continues to decrease large amounts of office space throughout Charlotte, New York City and elsewhere, as it follows through on mass layoffs. And, according to new reports from the New York Observer, UBS “may end up subleasing space or reducing its footprint at locations it has in midtown” New York City.

One area that seems to be showing a bit of a banking recovery, at least as real estate leases show, is the Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth market. Dallas-based Sovereign Bank is expanding into the Houston market, adding a regional headquarter and scouting for retail banking space there.

The Dallas Business Journal reported leasing of about 400,000 square feet of office and call center space in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, related to mortgage portfolio servicing. JPMorgan Chase’s Lewisville call center accounts for the bulk of that new space, and American Home Mortgage follows a close second. But other firms, including American Home Mortgage, Nationstar Mortgage, MetLife Mortgage and Franklin American Mortgage are also scouting for additional space in Dallas, according to the report. Back in August, JPMorgan Chase consolidated some of its call center operations to an office center in Coppell, Texas, adding jobs in the process.

Miami is benefiting from a relocation and expansion by Willis Group’s South Florida operations, as the global insurance broker looks to tap into a growing market there and in Latin America. According to a press release, the new location will serve as the South Florida headquarters of Willis’ retail insurance brokerage operations, as well as the home of Willis Re Latin America and Willis SCR (Special Contingency Risks). Willis also has satellite offices in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach.

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