An estimated 450,000 U.S. office jobs have moved offshore in recent years, and that number will likely grow as high as 3.4 million by 2015, according to a study performed at Columbia University in New York. And those aren’t the only jobs that are vacating U.S. offices. Further research shows that 44 million U.S. workers have traded in their cubicles for home offices; the number is projected to rise to 51 million by 2012.

I am sharing these statistics because they spell opportunity, not trouble. In fact, real estate economists predict new demand for office space will exceed 410 million square feet by 2015, 75 million of those square feet are here in Arizona alone.

With this increase in demand for commercial space, it is no wonder one must move quick in Arizona’s commercial market. However, you need to be smart.

No matter how competitive the real estate sector is, you need to keep in mind what trends are most likely to shrink and expand.

First look at industry movement; we all know that industry shifts are nothing new. Starting with farming and agriculture, the next in line was factory jobs and later corporate and information technology. Experts say the service, creative and design industry jobs will drive the demand for commercial space over the next five to 10 years.

You can check with your local community economic growth reporting offices, which are located within city hall, government reporting or small business administration offices. Colleges and universities will often release economic area growth reports so you can stay informed as to what the growth patterns are in your Arizona community.

Another great approach is to check economic reporting in major metropolitan papers so that you can keep tabs on national growth trends that could ultimately affect your community.

Arizona is widely becoming known for it’s industrial and major corporate office space growth; however, we seem to be more industry niched in the online product arena, such as in Scottsdale, and professional focused companies in the medical and representative areas, such as insurance and legal.

Every now and then you will find an international brand headquartered here such as Dial soap, also based in Scottsdale. With all of that said, reaching out to the professional, focused office categories such as medical and information technology seem to occupy at a faster rate and have longer term leases.

Commercial real estate here in Arizona is ripe with opportunity for investors and small business owners alike. Small Business Administration (SBA) lending is at an all-time high with interest rates lower than they’ve ever been, so there is no time like the present to get out, create an opportunity for yourself, and take advantage of good prices on commercial real estate. Last but not least, it is extremely important that you hire a broker that is not only knowledgeable about the area but also has an understanding of your business.

[stextbox id=”grey”]These tips are provided by Pete Baldwin, designated broker and owner of Platinum Realty Network with offices in Scottsdale and Flagstaff, Ariz. With over 25 years of experience in business and real estate, Pete specializes in country club communities and second home investments, including large commercial portfolios. He also owns an Arizona branch of a family-owned, Montana-based company Baldwin Log Homes – Arizona Territory and has become the area leader in full- custom, handcrafted log homes in Northern Arizona. For more information, please visit[/stextbox]