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The scale of office space going unused across American cities fell in the fourth and final quarter of 2011, according to the latest data on the subject.
Figures from the real estate research company Reis Inc show that US office space vacancy rates continued to fall steadily in the fourth quarter to reach 17.3 percent, down 0.1 percent on the previous three months and 0.3 percent on a year earlier.
Experts at the firm behind the data have suggested it reflects a long-awaited recovery for office space markets across American cities but they also expressed caution with optimism about prospects for growth in the US economy in short supply.
“After four quarters of squeezing out gains in occupancy, the office sector has assuredly turned the corner and begun the process of recovery,” reckoned Victor Canalog, chief research behind the Reis study.
A relative lack of new supplies of high quality office space available to rent in cities like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and the rest were cited as key to the broader rebalancing of America’s commercial property sector.
The scale of new offices being made available for rent around the country in 2011 was well below established norms and, at 12.3 million square feet, was the lowest annual total of new supply since the late 1990s.
Markets in 79 different urban areas nationwide were analysed by Reis in its extensive research, with the East Coast cities of New York and Washington leading the way in terms of low office vacancy rates.
The average cost of renting an office in a major US city reportedly increased by 0.4 percent in the final quarter of last year, with rises strongest in San Francisco and San Jose.