Vacancy rate US increased to almost 16% in third quarter

The USÂ's office-vacancy rate continued to climb in the third quarter, hitting almost 16%, according to a new survey by Reis Inc., higher than earlier projections.

The fact that office markets -- after dropping sharply in 2001 -- are still sliding is worrisome to office-building owners, who are fighting over a dwindling number of tenants. Tenants continued to give up more space than they rented for the seventh consecutive quarter, a record.

The 16% vacancy rate for the nationÂ's top 50 markets compares with 15% in the second quarter and 12% in the year-ago third quarter. Reis projects that national office vacancies will peak at above 16% in the middle of next year. The all-time-high office-vacancy rate is 19%, reached during the recession in 1991, according to Reis.

Average rents dropped 1.6% to $22.11 per square foot, from $22.46 in the second quarter, Reis said.

(source: Reis Inc.)

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