Demand for life science-specific real estate should grow in coming years, according to a new report from Cushman & Wakefield’s life science practice group. The report, entitled “Life Sciences Sector Drives Real Estate Growth,” was released earlier today and is based on published and proprietary market data.

Major findings of the report point to strength in the overall life science sector. The report also projects that more capital will be earmarked for expansion and increased corporate activity, plus the emergence of life science "clusters" in select U.S. markets.

Cushman & Wakefield managing director Maria Sicola says that all of these factors have driven "a noticeable increase in demand for properties catering to life sciences, from investors to companies."

The life sciences sector has benefited from strong demographics, including the aging baby-boomer population in the U.S., technological advances in research and development and increases in prescription drug spending. Sicola believes that these trends should position life science real estate for long-term growth.

The report also cites growing investment demand for life science properties. Last year, for example, 227 life science-related assets sold for $5.1 billion, up from $601 million in 2002, according to Real Capital Analytics. San Francisco remains the nation's top U.S. life science market with roughly 30 million sq. ft. of inventory.

The report also examines major life science hubs including San Diego and the greater Philadelphia metropolitan region, as well as developing life science markets such as the New York metro area and its surrounding suburbs, suburban Maryland, Raleigh-Durham, N.C., Puerto Rico, Seattle and metro Los Angeles.