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News release

​STAMFORD, CT

New Survey Shows 64% See Favorable Climate for Their Industry; 68% See Growth

Access to talent cited as No. 1 problem in Fairfield County, CT; 25% of participants point to cost of living as issue


​STAMFORD, CT, March 20, 2014 — A survey conducted by JLL and The Business Council of Fairfield County, the 2014 Fairfield County Business Climate Survey, revealed that 64 percent of respondents see a favorable climate for their industry while 68 percent believe their industry is growing.

2014 Fairfield County Business Climate Survey

While survey responses were mostly optimistic, participants indicated that challenges remain. Access to talent was cited as the No. 1 challenge in the county, while 25 percent pointed to cost of living as a major consideration.

“The purpose of this survey was to gain some insight into the business community’s outlook for their various industries and for the region as a whole,” said Robert Ageloff, international director and head of JLL’s CT/Westchester office. “Business sentiment is largely positive, indicating the potential for additional economic advancement and increased activity in the real estate sector.”

Approximately 74 percent of respondents saw the overall business climate in Fairfield County as neutral, with minimal growth anticipated but little danger of the local economy retracting. When drilling down to their respective industries, however, about 64 percent of participants thought the climate for their specific industry was favorable and around 68 percent believed their industry was growing. In addition, more than 75 percent of respondents said their companies are in growth mode. Transportation and cost of living were highlighted as impediments to attracting talent to the area.

12-month outlook
In terms of company plans over the next year, 70 percent of respondents noted their firms are planning for growth, 26 percent will maintain the status quo and 4 percent expect to contract.

Although many of the participants are planning to expand during the next 12 months, that may not translate into leasing more space due to ongoing efforts to increase the efficiency of their existing space. Approximately one-third of survey respondents expect their company’s space needs will increase over the next year. Around 55 percent of participants projected an increase in headcount, while 45 percent saw no change.

Location value
Most survey participants were pleased with the value of their current space. More than half, about 57 percent, thought their office space was efficiently used, while 24 percent believed the space was under capacity and 19 percent thought it was over capacity.

At least half of the respondents thought they were paying market rates for their space, while 23 percent believed it was over market and 27 percent saw it as under market. About 59 percent of participants thought office rents were unchanged from one year ago while 41 percent saw it as higher.

Industry activity
According to survey respondents, healthcare and education services firms claimed approximately 34 percent of activity, with financial services taking 25 percent and media, marketing and advertising firms accounting for another 11 percent.

Around 42 percent of participants saw lease expirations as driving activity, with 26 percent pointing to access to transportation and 20 percent to consolidation or downsizing efforts. Just 4 percent of respondents saw expansion driving activity.

12-month outlook for office market
Most of the survey participants were more optimistic about the outlook for Fairfield County’s CBD markets than the county’s suburban markets.

Approximately 58 percent of respondents saw CBD asking rents as increasing over the next 12 months, with 38 percent predicting no growth and 4 percent foreseeing lower rents. Around 11 percent saw suburban rents increasing, with 74 percent predicting no growth and 15 percent expecting lower rents.

In terms of vacancy rates, 44 percent of participants predicted no change in Fairfield County’s CBD markets, while 48 percent saw a decline and around 7 percent expected an increase in vacancies. About 19 percent of respondents saw suburban vacancy rates as increasing, with 65 percent predicting no change and 15 percent expecting lower vacancy rates.

JLL is a leader in the New York tri-state commercial real estate market, with more than 1,600 of the most recognized industry experts offering brokerage, capital markets, property/facilities management, consulting, and project and development services. In 2012, the New York tri-state team completed approximately 23.8 million square feet in lease transactions, arranged capital markets transactions valued at $1.57 billion, managed projects valued at nearly $7.0 billion, and oversaw a property and facilities management portfolio of 102.1 million square feet and an agency leasing portfolio of 76.0 million square feet.

About JLL
JLL (NYSE:JLL) is a professional services and investment management firm offering specialized real estate services to clients seeking increased value by owning, occupying and investing in real estate. With annual revenue of $4 billion, JLL operates in 75 countries worldwide. On behalf of its clients, the firm provides management and real estate outsourcing services for a property portfolio of 3 billion square feet and completed $99 billion in sales, acquisitions and finance transactions in 2013. Its investment management business, LaSalle Investment Management, has $47.6 billion of real estate assets under management. For further information, visit www.jll.com.