Strong and Steady Medical Market for 2013

Market Overview

The medical office market in Columbia, SC ended the second quarter of the year with a low vacancy rate of 6.28%, down 10 basis points from year-end 2012.  Evolving health care policy and technological advancements are reflected in a transforming medical real estate market.  In recent years, hospitals have shown increased interest in expanding their suburban footprint targeting convenience and accessibility for patients.  Many acute facilities are now seen in medical office buildings at satellite campuses and surgeries which were once inpatient procedures are being performed in outpatient settings.  To accommodate these changes, the traditional medical office building is taking on a new form to enhance efficiency and cost-effectiveness.  

A new retail clinic trend is emerging in which urgent care, or quick medical, clinics are locating in populated retail corridors near neighborhoods, schools and offices in suburban submarkets.  Retail locations offer high visibility for the clinic and add convenience for patients by allowing them to be seen without appointments and during the weekend or afternoon hours.  Doctor’s Care and MEDCare Urgent Care Center are examples of such clinics that have expanded their presence in the Columbia market. 

Current Conditions

The occupancy rate for the Columbia, SC medical office market was up to 93.72% at mid-year 2013 after absorbing approximately 3,000 square feet of available space.  Despite the increase in occupancy and limited available space, average asking full service rental rates declined to $19.73 per square foot per year from the 2012 year-end average rate of $20.72 per square foot per year, mostly due to the lower quality of available medical space.

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