Ending 2013 Strong

Market Overview

The Columbia, South Carolina office market continued the trend of improvements and tightening ending the fourth quarter of 2013 on a strong and healthy note with a low total vacancy rate of 18.52%, 57 basis points lower than the third quarter and 232 basis points lower than year-end 2012.  The market absorbed approximately 53,000 square feet of office space during the fourth quarter resulting in a total absorption of about 219,000 square feet for the year.  Columbia’s CBD experienced the greatest activity throughout the year, absorbing a total of 164,696 square feet.  The suburban submarkets absorbed a total of 54,391 square feet in 2013.  Overall average rental rates increased to $15.46 per square foot per year at the end of 2013, a 25 cent increase from the third quarter and 55 cents higher, a 3.7% spike, over year-end 2012. 

CBD Submarket

Success continued in Columbia’s Central Business District (CBD) which ended the fourth quarter with a low total vacancy rate of 11.54%, an improvement of 35 basis points from the third quarter and 369 basis points from year-end 2012.  Class A and B office space remain tight, each having a vacancy rate below 10% at 9.95% and 8.76%, respectively.  The vacancy of class C office space declined 50 basis points, but remains at 20.09% with much of the available space being in functionally obsolete buildings.  Redevelopments of class C buildings over the past year, such as the Palmetto Center and the Keenan Building, have proven beneficial to the CBD submarket as once obsolete space is being repurposed and renovated.    The overall average asking rental rate increased to $18.11 per square foot at the end of the fourth quarter, an 8.7% spike over year-end 2012.

Banks continued to relocate for better positions in the CBD in 2013 with Ameris Bank, BB&T and CertusBank locating to Main Street.  Additionally, First Community Bank purchased 1213 Lady Street during the fourth quarter and plans to occupy the first two floors of the 20,000 square foot office building. The Lexington-based community bank expects to open in the spring of 2014.

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