CRE Brokers Not Threatened by Coworking Trend, Poll Says

DENVER Commercial real estate brokers generally are not threatened by WeWork and the overall coworking trend, according to the latest Apto National Broker Buzz Poll, which was conducted the week of August 20.

The poll asked specifically: “How much of a threat is WeWork to the #CRE brokerage business?” In response, 49 percent of brokers said it was not a threat, 44 percent said it was somewhat of a threat and 7 percent thought it was a major threat to the business.

Brokers were also asked how concerned they are that tenants, over time, will opt for co-working space versus traditional lease or sub-lease space. In response, 63 percent of brokers said they were not concerned, 35 percent said they were somewhat concerned and only 2 percent said they were very concerned.

“For all the attention WeWork gets as a disruptor shaking up how people think about work, commercial real estate brokers don’t see co-working as a particularly big threat to either the brokerage business or the traditional model of real estate space occupancy” said Tanner McGraw, founder and chief strategy officer of Apto. “On some level WeWork may represent more of an existential threat — and a reminder that the only constant in business is change, and that we should never be complacent with any of our approaches to business.”

Poll results also demonstrate that brokers generally are not interested in lease transactions under 2,000 square feet, but highly interested in transactions between 3,000 and 5,000 square feet.

Specifically, the poll asked: “How interested are you as a broker in small lease transactions?”

In response, 44 percent said they were not interested, 24 percent said they were somewhat interested and 14 percent said they were very interested.

For deals between 3,000 and 5,000 square feet, 47 percent of brokers said they were very interested, 30 percent said they were somewhat interested and 11 percent said they were not interested.

“As the poll results demonstrate, WeWork’s market opportunity appears strongest relative to small businesses, particularly tenants with space requirements under 2,000 square feet. Brokers have historically been less interested in these deals, which has contributed to WeWork’s rise as a player in that market,” concluded McGraw.


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