Global cities at the very top share the highest level of well-being in economic, social and cultural perspective. Connectivity thereby seems to pay off in both booms and busts, as commercial real estate market reports indicate. We analyse returns across global markets relating market dynamics to both global and local drivers. Previous literature suggests that return rates differ widely across global markets, substantiating the view that returns are intertwined with conditions at the local level. Whether and to what degree differences in these global markets relate to differences in local institutions has not been addressed. This is the central issue of this paper, thereby extending earlier presented results on European metropolitan commercial real estate markets with findings for Asia, Australia and the Americas.The research design consists of three coherent steps to address the central issue. Step 1 addresses the issue of how institutions may determine differences in office market dynamics.. We use current contributions in the literature, culminating in a concise review of the literature on institutions and office market behaviour. Step 2 aims to measure the degree of differences in office market returns. For this we use data across metropolitan areas. Step 3 considers the interrelations between office market dynamics and institutions to explain the observed differences in step 2. For this we model market returns now including the various institutional measures identified in step 1. These results will indicate which and to what degree the various institutional measures explain observed differences in local office dynamics.