Why most new data center capacity is still in primary markets
Investors - JUNE 1, 2024

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Why most new data center capacity is still in primary markets

by Sebastian Dooley, Casey Miller and Ben Wobschall

Demand for data center capacity has been rising exponentially for well over a decade. COVID-19 caused a significant acceleration in that growth, at the same time as it upended global supply chains. Add increasingly scarce land, and power and demand began to outstrip supply in many top markets. Vacancy rates plummeted and timelines for new data center development ballooned, in some cases by as many as six years, according to a CBRE report, High Demand, Power Availability Delays Lead to Record Data Center Construction, from September 2023.

Stories about top markets being “out of power” have made headlines, as have stories of hyperscalers building massive new facilities in far-flung locations. One could see these headlines as indications of movement away from primary markets into secondary markets, but that would be inaccurate.

The idea that a data center can be anywhere belies the reality that data centers cluster in certain locations — top markets — bec

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