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Income and Expense Data on Office Building Performance Reported in New IREM Benchmarking Study

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(CHICAGO, IL, Aug. 17, 2011) Total collections for suburban office complexes nationwide in 2010 decreased 6.5 percent from 2009 levels to $18.46 per square foot of net rentable area. Downtown properties experienced a mere 0.1 percent year-to-year collections' rise to $21.91 per square foot. Total actual collections for downtown properties were 18.7 percent more last year than their suburban counterparts.

These are among the major findings reported in the 2011 edition of the Income/Expense Analysis: Office Buildings, a new benchmarking study published by the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM). This annual research study, conducted by IREM since 1976, analyzes operating income and costs for 2,215 private-sector office complexes - some containing multiple buildings - in major metropolitan areas and regions in the United States and Canada. For the very first time, it also contains financial data for 354 medical office buildings.

The study is designed to help property owners, managers, investors, appraisers, lenders, developers and other real estate professionals evaluate and optimize a buildings' performance. Specifically, the publication is an invaluable resource to build better budgets; identify ways to trim waste, address inefficiencies and make needed improvements; prepare feasibility studies, appraisals and loan requests; and much more.

Total operating costs for suburban buildings in 2010 decreased 4.8 percent from the prior year to $8.38 per square foot of rentable area, while operating costs for downtown properties increased 0.5 percent to $10.14 per square foot.

Nationally, net operating costs for suburban buildings in 2010 decreased 3.7 percent to $5.97 per square foot of rentable area, whereas those for downtown properties increased 0.1 percent to $7.14 per square foot.

Four of five major expense categories for suburban properties decreased last year, with insurance/services costs experiencing a 5.2 percent decline, real estate and other taxes decreasing 4.3 percent, and utility costs and janitorial/maintenance services experiencing year-to-year declines of 4.4 percent and 4.3 percent, respectively. Only administrative/benefits costs increased, a mere 0.9 percent, to $1.12 per square foot of net rentable office area.

In contrast, two of the five major expense categories for downtown properties increased last year versus 2009, with one category experiencing a slight decline and two others reporting the exact same expenses as in 2009. The biggest year-to-year increase, 4.7 percent, was for real estate and other taxes, followed by utilities, up 1.4 percent.  Expenses for janitorial/maintenance services declined a mere 1.2 percent, whereas those for administrative/benefits and insurance services were unchanged.

Focusing again on major expense categories, but as a percentage of total operating costs, the IREM study reveals that real estate and other taxes along with  janitorial/maintenance services accounted for the largest portion of suburban properties' operating costs, 26.3 percent and 24.1 percent, respectively. Utilities represented 23.4 percent and administrative/benefits and insurance/services represented 13.4 percent and 13.0 percent, respectively.

Similarly, expenditures for real estate and other taxes and janitorial/maintenance services accounted for the largest portion of downtown properties' operating costs, 26.4 percent and 25.3 percent, respectively. Utilities represented 21.4 percent and administrative/benefits and insurance/services accounted for 12.1 percent and 12.3 percent, respectively.

Overall, suburban properties proved 17.4 percent less costly to operate in 2010 than their downtown counterparts, with all expense categories less than those experienced by downtown buildin

The national vacancy rate for both suburban and downtown office properties in operation for 12 months were exactly the same in 2010 as in 2009. Suburban properties experienced an 11 percent vacancy rate whereas that for downtown properties was 7 percent.

Though downtown properties reported higher total actual collections than suburban properties in 2010, the overall operating experience of both downtown and suburban office markets were similar as reflected by their median operating ratio (total operating costs divided by total actual collections). The median operating ratio at suburban properties was 0.45; the operating ratio at downtown properties was 0.46.

The IREM Income/Expense Analysis research study contains detailed analyses of office building operating revenues and expenses for major metropolitan areas and suburban markets in the United States and Canada. The income and expense data is presented in dollars per square foot for more than 50 specific categories broken out by building size, height, age, and rental range. 

The 320-page Income/Expense Analysis: Office Buildings is available for $449.95 (plus $15.50 shipping and applicable state sales tax). The IREM Member price is $224.95 (plus shipping and handling). To order, contact the IREM Customer Service Department at 430 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611-4090 or call toll-free to (800) 837-0706, ext. 4650. Credit card orders (VISA, MasterCard, Discover or American Express) can be faxed toll-free to (800) 338-4736 or e-mailed to Internet users can order the study in soft cover or in a downloadable format by accessing the Publications section (click on Income/Expense Analysis Reports on the drop-down menu) of the IREM Web site at As a special incentive, purchasers of the report in print format also can receive it in downloadable Excel file and PDF format for just $99.99, with the data completely customizable in Excel.

IREM also has just published new 2011 editions of four other annual Income/Expense Analysis studies: Conventional Apartments ($449.95); Shopping Centers ($449.95); Condominiums, Cooperatives & Planned Unit Developments ($404.95); and Federally Assisted Apartments ($404.95). IREM Members receive a 50 percent discount on each study and member and non-member purchasers of all five studies receive a 15 percent discount on their total order. In addition, purchasers of any Income/Expense Analysis book can get it in downloadable Excel file and PDF format for only $99.99.

The Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) is an international community of real estate managers across all property types dedicated to ethical business practices and maximizing the value of investment real estate. An affiliate of the National Association of Realtors, IREM has been a trusted source for knowledge, advocacy and networking for the real estate management community for more than 80 years.

IREM is the only professional real estate management association serving both the multi-family and commercial real estate sectors and has 80 U.S. chapters, 14 international chapters, and several other partnerships around the globe. Worldwide membership includes nearly 18,000 individual members and over 535 corporate members.

IREM promotes ethical real estate management practices through its credentialed membership programs, including the Certified Property Manager (CPM) designation, the Accredited Residential Manager (ARM) certification, the Accredited Commercial Manager (ACoM) certification, and the Accredited Management Organization (AMO) accreditation. These esteemed credentials certify competence and professionalism for those engaged in real estate management. IREM also offers CPM Candidate, Associate, Student, and Academic memberships. All members are bound by the strictly enforced IREM Code of Professional Ethics.

Collectively, CPM Members in the United States manage nearly $2 trillion in real estate assets, including 11.4 million residential units and 10.4 billion net square feet of commercial space. To learn more about the IREM and its chapter network, call (800) 837-0706, ext. 4650 (outside the U.S. call (312) 329-6000) or visit