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Office Vacancies Creep Up, Apartments Stabilize

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on October 16, 2009

There’s more empty space in U.S. office buildings, shopping malls and industrial parks, says CBRE Econometric Advisors. The good news the rate of increase is slowing.

“Like with job losses, the worst period of vacancy increases is behind us,” says Jon Southard, Director of Forecasting at CBRE. “Still, this is of little comfort when ‘less bad’ only adds to record high vacancy rates in many markets and property types.”

The office vacancy rate increased .6% to 16.1%, at the end of the third quarter. This was the eighth consecutive quarter of rising vacancy rates.

The suburban vacancy increase was slightly higher, than the increase for downtown areas. Downtown areas’ relative outperformance in this recession continued, CBRE says, with a cumulative increase of 2.6% through the third quarter. By contrast, suburban vacancy rates have risen by a total of 4.3%, thanks largely to the subprime crisis hitting some suburban markets as early as mid-2007.

The trouble getting tenants is a national problem with 46 out of the 57 markets recording rising vacancy rates. Fort Worth, Austin and Houston stood out as relatively good performers. The natural resources, high-tech firms, and banks’ conservative lending practices in Texas helped that local economy so far in this recession, the report said.

Vacancy in industrial space stood at 13.5%.

Retail availability stood at 12.3%. The economic crisis’ negative effects on neighborhood and community centers is dwindling, CBRE said.

The apartment vacancy rate held steady at 7.4%

Reader Comments


October 17, 2009 4:34 PM

Excellent work!
This is my first visit to your website, and though I've missed the date to enter your blog into that competition (by 23 hours!), I've bookmarked you for next year (you've got my vote!!). :-)


October 18, 2009 2:53 AM

Commercial real estate is heading for an upcoming big crash just as the residential market crashed in 2008, 2009 and will continue to adjust downward into the foreseeable future until the real estate bubble prices are deflated despite the Federal government effort to re-inflate prices. The worse is not over but more of the same misery is imminent as rising unemployment continues and income is slashed. Those who paint a rosy picture of real estate are the ones who want to unload their real estate holdings on the gullible and naive. Truth be told, CBRE is a real estate interest group on par with the notorious NAR. BW readers are not deceived despite Palmeri's failure to idenify CBRE's true motives.

October 22, 2009 8:45 AM

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BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.

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