Tenants Look for Value; Activity Shifts to Suburbs.

The Columbia, South Carolina, office market experienced a deviation between activity and absorption during the 12-month period ending December 31, 2011.  While leasing activity and job creation increased as the market rebounded from economic downturn, overall office market occupancy experienced a net decline in 2011.  During the fourth quarter of 2011 the market experienced a net loss of 9,072 square feet in occupied space, while occupancy for the year decreased by 87,225 square feet.

Job growth in 2011 was up substantially from 2010 levels.  The local economy added a total of 8,700 jobs from January 2011 to November 2011 (December numbers were not yet available at the time this report was written).  Both the services and manufacturing sectors of the economy increased substantially, which bodes well for the market, but job growth did not necessarily result in increased occupancy in the commercial real estate market.  As employers added to their workforce they also sought ways to increase efficiencies, resulting in higher employment densities and a decreased need for square footage.

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