Columbia’s Central Business District Leading the Office Market to Success

Market Overview

The Columbia, SC office market started 2013 on a bright note with positive absorption and a decreased total vacancy rate for the overall market.  The first quarter of 2013 closed with an overall vacancy rate of 20.21%, six basis points lower than year-end 2012 and 134 basis points lower than the vacancy rate of 21.55% a year ago.  

The market’s success continues to be driven by the Central Business District which experienced a further decrease in Class A availabilities and another spike in Class A rental rates reaching levels not seen in recent years.  The quarter ended with a CBD Class A vacancy rate of 8.00% and an average asking rental rate of $20.27 per square foot.

Another source of the market’s overall positive absorption was tenant expansion in Class C office space such as PricewaterhouseCoopers expanding in the Forest Acres submarket.  The Class C vacancy rate for the overall market dropped 120 basis points to 27.97% in the first quarter.  The overall Class A vacancy rate in the market remained flat and ended the quarter at 11.82%, while the Class B vacancy dropped one percentage point to 19.73%.

The average asking rental rate for the entire market was $14.85 per square foot per year at the end of the first quarter, 25 cents higher than the previous quarter but less than the average rental rate of $15.11 a year ago.  Class A average asking rates are down 35 cents to $18.09 from the previous quarter, Class B rental rates remained stable at $15.42 and Class C rental rates increased 46 cents to $13.22 from year-end 2012.

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