Q4 2023 U.S. life sciences market overview

A slowdown in leasing activity within the lab/R&D sector coupled with a significant amount of speculative construction starts in early 2022 has given way to a surplus of supply across the country. Moreover, the rightsizing of smaller and midsize life science companies has led to a drastic uptick in sublease availability. While this supply injection is not expected to be absorbed in the near-term, leasing activity is anticipated to pick up in the next 12-18 months based on a variety of indicators, such as venture capital funding, M&A activity, and a less competitive labor market.

Vacant space across the United States

There is 24.2 million square feet of vacant lab/R&D space across the country, the highest amount on record. A wave of vacant lab/R&D deliveries, coupled with a large injection of new sublease vacancies over the last year, have left occupiers with more options than ever before.

11.5 msf

Leasing activity in 2023

Leasing activity decreased quarter-over-quarter in 2023 which can be attributed towards a slowdown in venture capital funding, particularly among earlier stage companies. Moreover, heightened interest rates have made it increasingly difficult for companies to lengthen their drug-discovery runways due to the higher cost of capital.


Amount of lab/R&D construction located across three markets

26.6 million square feet of lab/R&D construction is underway across the country, 47% of which is preleased. The Greater Boston area and Bay Area markets account for approximately 70% of construction nationwide, preleased at 58%, and 59%, respectfully.

For more information, contact:

  • U.S. Life Science Lead, Market Intelligence | Boston & Philadelphia Manager, Market Intelligence
  • Market Intelligence