Among 2,500 office buildings in 10 large U.S. cities, about 25 percent of workers had returned as of 18 November, reported Kastle Systems, a security firm that tracks access card swipes in those buildings.
The rate has dipped from October’s mark of 27 percent but remains comfortably above the 15 percent recorded in April.
However, not all cities are doing so well.
San Francisco’s return rate is 13.4 percent as of 18 November; New York City’s is 15.9 percent, Kastle has calculated.
“There’s a huge headwind against company executives to strongly push their employee base to come back to work,” Douglas Linde, president of landlord Boston Properties, said in a Wall Street Journal interview.
The pressures include rising rates of COVID infections in cities and the discovery that employees can not only be productive working at home, but they also can move to cheaper, more spacious homes farther from urban centers.
Prospective tenants’ online searches for new office space in October was only 13 percent of what they had been in January 2018, the VTS Office Demand Index showed.
The absence of commuters also is devastating downtown economic ecosystems, figures show.
San Francisco apartment rental rates have fallen 20 percent from their March peak; public transit systems in Boston; New York; San Francisco; and Washington, DC report collectively losing billions of dollars in fares compared to pre-pandemic days.
Restaurants feel travelers’ absence perhaps most keenly.
Oceania, a Manhattan seafood restaurant, is usually booked at this time of year with holiday parties, business lunches, and tourists visiting the city to see Rockefeller Center and its iconic holiday tree. This year, business is 10 to 15 percent of what it was a year ago, managing director Paul McLaughlin told the Journal.  
TRENDPOST: Again, the evidence of the lockdowns and the fear and hysteria spread throughout society is proving its economic and emotional devastation throughout sectors of society. With more people working from home and afraid to commute, we maintain our forecast of declining real estate in both the commercial and apartment rental sectors of major cities. 
And, as these cities go dark, crime rates will dramatically rise, putting more fear into the general public, thus continuing their move to suburbs and ex-burbs to escape the threats of violence, increasing homeless populations, and the mentally ill aimlessly wandering the streets.

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