The market is always changing, influenced by demographic shifts, technological advancements, and economic trends. Knowing where the key growth areas in commercial real estate (CRE) are can help investors and developers make the most of their investments. Let’s take a closer look at five of the most promising sectors within CRE.

Commercial Real Estate’s 5 Key Growth Areas in 2024

1. Industrial Real Estate

Industrial real estate, especially warehouses and distribution centers, is one of the standout sectors right now. The boom in e-commerce significantly increased the demand for these spaces. According to the National Association for Industrial and Office Parks (NAIOP), the U.S. industrial market absorbed a whopping 412.5 million square feet of space in 2022, far surpassing growth forecasts. Plus, the vacancy rate, while slightly rising in 2024, is now steady at 5.2%. This is well under the 20 year average. All these statistics mean one thing: industrial is hot and still poised for growth.

2. Multifamily Housing/Mixed Use Retail

Multifamily housing with retail is another area showing strong growth, driven by urbanization and the growing preference for renting over owning among younger generations. A report by the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) and National Apartment Association (NAA) predicts a need for 4.6 million new apartments by 2030 to meet demand. This means there is a great opportunity to (literally) get in on the ground floor of these buildings. Mixed use developments are a massive growth area, and retail spaces in buildings with all of these new apartments will be perfectly situated.

3. Data Centers

The rise of cloud computing and data-intensive technologies is fueling the demand for data centers. The global data center market is expected to grow from $59.3 billion in 2020 to $143.4 billion by 2027, according to Research and Markets. In the US, Northern Virginia remains the largest data center market, “with 51 million square feet of gross operating data center space” (WTOP). And this seems like a great time to remind you to get in touch with us if you’re looking for CRE in the DC and Baltimore metro areas.

4. Life Sciences Real Estate

Life sciences real estate, which includes laboratory and research facilities, is experiencing unprecedented growth due to increased investment in biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. While markets like Boston-Cambridge, San Francisco Bay Area, and San Diego are leading this growth, this is another huge growth area for DC and Baltimore. The region is now fifth largest life sciences employment cluster in the country.

5. Retail Real Estate Transformation

While traditional brick-and-mortar retail has faced challenges, the sector is transforming. Experiential retail, which focuses on providing unique in-store experiences, is gaining traction. Additionally, the rise of multi-channel strategies, where retailers integrate online and offline sales, is revitalizing retail spaces. According to the National Retail Federation, retail sales are expected to rise between 2.5% and 3.5% this year. Keep in mind, this is largely driven by innovations in experiential retail and merchants with attractive loyalty programs. So look for opportunities with innovative retailers.


Even when market conditions are imperfect, there are always growth areas in commerical real estate. Industrial real estate, multifamily housing, data centers, life sciences real estate, and transformed retail spaces are leading the way. Investors and developers who recognize and capitalize on these trends are likely to see substantial returns. By staying informed and adaptable, you can navigate the complexities of the market and find exciting opportunities for growth.

If you are interested in a free broker opinion of value or just learning more about investing in commercial real estate in Maryland, Virginia, or Washington DC, please contact us. Avenue Real Estate is a leading full service commercial brokerage in the Baltimore and Washington DC areas and we would love to help you explore your options and make informed decisions about commercial real estate investments.