JLL, Roger Staubach Predicting Victory for New England on Sunday

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Oddsmakers see an even matchup in Sunday’s Big Game between the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots, but if commercial real estate statistics – and the view of a former title game MVP – are considered, Tom Brady should celebrate his fourth championship.

JLL and its Americas Executive Chairman Roger Staubach are predicting a victory for New England on Sunday.

“The Patriots have been phenomenal all season, and Tom Brady is one of the all-time greats,” said Staubach, who took home MVP honors in the 1972 game. “I think you’ve got one of the best matchups we’ve ever had for Sunday’s game, and I expect Seattle, with their great quarterback that never quits, to play a fantastic game. But this is the year the Patriots win another championship.”

History tends to favor commercial real estate vacancy rates in the Big Game, but last season’s victory for the Seahawks proved there may be more factors than available space for lease that dictate Sunday evening’s NFL title.

According to JLL research, NFL teams based in cities with higher office vacancy rates have taken home the Lombardi Trophy 60 percent of the time in the past 15 seasons, including a seven-year streak from 2000-2006. Seattle broke from that trend in 2014 with the franchise’s first championship.

Boston’s vacancy rate is four points higher (14.7 percent) than Seattle’s current rate of 10.7 percent. However, JLL considered other factors when examining this year’s game, like 2014 rent growth, which was 7.7 percent higher in favor of New England at 11.6 percent on the year.

Greater Boston’s office supply and construction activity compares much more favorably than Seattle with 160 million square feet to the Emerald City’s 88.4 million square feet. The two markets have similar construction activity underway, but Boston has a much higher percentage of preleased space with 51 percent to Seattle’s 26.2.

“In New England, we are proud that both our real estate market and our football team are as strong as they come,” said James Tierney, Managing Director for JLL’s New England region. “Whether you’re on the hunt for a real estate investment, new space for your business or the most successful head coach and quarterback combination in football history, Boston is where you’ll find it. Go Patriots!”

Direct average rent is slightly higher for Boston at $31.74 per square foot versus $31.60 per square foot, but ask Seattle and there is more than just office statistics to support a victory, on paper, for the Emerald City.

“There isn’t a better place for high-tech in the country with our mix of start-ups, venture capital and access to the most talented people in the country,” said JLL Seattle Market Leader Joe Smurdon. “Tech companies, investors and a highly-skilled workforce are flocking to our market with the explosive growth we are experiencing within the tech sector.”

Nerdwallet ranked the Greater Seattle area as the second-best place for STEM graduates, and Fast Company also voted it as the smartest city in North America. Those factors are part of the reason why Seattle was ranked No. 2 in JLL’s annual High-Tech Report, compared to Boston’s seventh-place ranking.

When pushed to counter Boston’s ability to attract venture capital due to its world-leading life sciences cluster, Smurdon said “I’m just here so I won’t get fined. Go Hawks!”

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