The first quarter of 2002 saw further increases in metropolitan office vacancies throughout most of the U.S., according to the most recent survey by commercial brokerage and research firm CB Richard Ellis, Los Angeles. Following an increase of 1.1% between the third and fourth quarters of last year, the national average office vacancy rate increased another 1% during the first quarter of this year to 14.2%. The national average office vacancy rate has increased by more than 5% over the past 12 months and is not likely to peak until this fall.
First-quarter 2002 downtown office vacancies were 0.7% higher than during the same period last year, and 4.6% higher than during the first quarter of 2001. Suburban vacancy rates moved up 1.1% during the first quarter of 2002 and remained well above the downtown level. The national suburban vacancy rate during the first quarter of 2002 was 15.6%, or 5.3% higher than during the first quarter of 2001.
The tightest office markets among major U.S. metropolitan areas during the first quarter of 2002 were Washington, D.C. (8%), Sacramento, Calif. (8.8%), and New York (9.2%). None of the other 46 areas surveyed by Ellis had vacancy rates below 10% during the first three months of this year. Areas of the U.S. that recorded office vacancy rates above the 14.2% first-quarter 2002 national average include Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas (22.2%); and Columbus, Ohio (20.5%).
Office vacancies continue to rise in cities and suburbs
(Office vacancy rate, national averages, by quarter)
|Source: CB Richard Ellis