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U.S. office vacancy rate holds steady for three consecutive quarters

by Jody Barhanovich

The U.S. national vacancy rate for the office sector stayed flat at 16 percent for a third successive quarter after falling for eight previous quarters, according to real estate research firm Reis, Inc.

While the vacancy rate has not budged year-to-date, the third quarter 2016 rate is 0.4 percent lower than the 16.4 percent recorded for third quarter 2015.

The average asking rent for the office sector grew by 0.3 percent during the third quarter to $31.43 per square foot while effective rent rose by 0.4 percent to $25.47 per square foot in the third quarter, a 23rd consecutive quarter of asking and effective rent growth. Asking and effective rents rose 0.6 percent in the second quarter.

Fortunately, employment growth is still rising with a national growth rate of 1.5 percent. The average national monthly job growth was 232,000 jobs from June through August, according to Reis. Reis suggests recent employment growth should pull the vacancy rate down tow

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