Flex space, with its multi-decade history, started garnering greater attention more recently — first with the flash, and ultimate troubles, of WeWork, and then with the pandemic and hybrid and work-from-home models.
But while industry attention has largely been on the strategic, whether funding for flex space sales and marketing services, flex marketplaces, or concerns over the impact of tech layoffs, there’s been little coverage on and discussion about some basics. Like how much do the variations of flex space charge, the amount they might make, and where they’ve been popping up.
CoworkingCafe, a site created last year by Yardi Systems, that focuses on all things flex and coworking pulled together data from its parent. The result is a look at coworking subscription prices by usage model, whether dedicated desk, open space, or virtual.
The Inland Empire and Albany, New York had the highest median prices for open space, at $250 per person per month. The explanation, at least in part, was that the former has expanding business activity, one of the most in-demand locations for industrial demand, and the largest undergraduate business program in the University of California system. Albany is becoming a major semiconductor R&D location.
All of which sounds plausible, but the longer you look, the more you might scratch your head over how the market works. Silicon Valley — that place with major tech activity and expensive real estate — “offered some of the most affordable open space coworking memberships in the country,” the report noted. Also in upstate New York is Rochester, home to some inexpensive virtual office subscriptions. (Though they are a couple of hundred miles apart, which is similar to the distance between Washington, D.C. and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.)
In Cincinnati, dedicated desks had some of the lowest prices in the country, but the virtual offices were among the most expensive. For open space, the most expensive metros in addition to the Inland Empire and Albany were Hampton Roads, Virginia ($225), Louisville ($223) and Buffalo, New York ($213).The cheapest: Philadelphia, Phoenix, Tampa Bay, San Jose, and Las Vegas all came in at $93.
Why $93? “The explanation is rooted in how Regus, the world’s largest coworking operator offers open workspace subscriptions around this price point at most of its U.S. locations,” the report said. “Simply, the more than 800-strong portfolio managed under three brands weighs enough to pull many of the metro-wide medians close to the $100 mark. In fact, the median price was exactly $93 in no less than 14 metropolitan areas across the country due to Regus’ subscription structure that allows access to multiple locations with the same membership.”
The highest costs of dedicated desks ran from $413 a month for Washington, D.C. to $475 in Santa Barbara. The least costly ran from Indianapolis ($204) to Milwaukee ($231).
“Although the pandemic boosted the demand fairly evenly across the country, coworking space supply in the U.S. is evolving along a more sporadic pattern (not to mention all of the other variables that influence pricing),” the site said. “Consequently, coworking subscription costs present a wide variation across the different parts of the country.”