Office market struggling at year end
December 28, 2011
By: David Roeder

In the market for office space in the Chicago area, 2011 is drawing to a somewhat wobbly close that's fitting for a year of reduced expectations. ...

... Office space usage is among the most lagging of all economic indicators. When it flashes green, it's a final confirmation of an economy speeding ahead. But the latest downtown Chicago statistics still call for caution.

Vacancy rates downtown rose this year, according to fourth-quarter data from tenant adviser Studley Inc. The overall downtown vacancy rate is 18.1 percent, Studley said. The figure compares with 17.8 percent in the third quarter and 17.4 percent a year ago.

The market is not so weak, however, as to take a toll on rents. Studley reported average asking rents rose 2.4 percent this year to $32.69 a square foot. And it said some large year-end deals caused a jump in leasing activity, a good sign for the future. ...