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New office sharing trends may change commercial real estate

An increasing number of companies in Maryland and other states are moving away from traditional office occupancy. Instead, these firms seek to save money and create more flexible working environments by co-working, or sharing rental space with other businesses. Observers say factors like the lower cost of co-working and the informal nature of such arrangements are driving the trend's popularity, and it could also affect investors and develpers.

Co-working can potentially minimize the amount of space each employee needs. Although the square-foot costs are typically higher, the fact that companies can cycle employees in and out of the same slimmed-down office areas may mitigate the price difference.

Analysts say spaces that accommodate co-working and high-productivity workflows will become more in demand over time, with some predicting 2030 as the date when traditional office spaces become the exception to the rule. Notably, many older spaces that once served as traditional offices have already evolved into co-working spaces because developers outfitted them for new purposes. Companies in search of facilities might also be willing to pay more for such options, and developers could potentially derive some insights from what freelancers and small businesses want out of their ideal facilities.

Making lucrative real estate investments requires an understanding of broad market factors. It's also critical to have a firm handle on seemingly incidental matters, such as zoning and contract laws. Because these issues can impact the viability of a given sale or purchase, investors and developers need to take them into consideration before finalizing any transactions. Working with an attorney may shed some insight into the most effective ways to structure deals and secure assurances that provide investors and other stakeholders with sufficient protections.

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