Rental Rates Approaching Record Highs and Still Climbing

Key Takeaways

  • The Columbia, SC office market vacancy rate continues to decline. Rental rates are on the rise and expected to reach record levels.
  • Residential and student housing developments drive the Central Business District. 
  • Office-using employment nears pre-recession levels in Columbia.
  • Gen-Y is starting to shape the Central Business District.

Market Overview

Improvements continued through the third quarter of 2014 for the Columbia, South Carolina office market. The vacancy rate was down to 16.24% from the second quarter vacancy rate of 16.92% and third quarter 2013 vacancy rate of 18.4%. Rental rates averaged $16.03 for the entire market at the end of the third quarter, a 2.8% increase from $15.59 at the end of the second quarter of 2014. Rental rates averaged $15.20 a year ago. As vacancy rates decline and rental rates increase due to increased office demand, landlords are becoming the dominant players in the market. With landlords currently in control of market rental rates, tenants can expect to see higher rates in the future, especially in the Central Business District where significant increases are expected. Concessions, while limited, are still available in the market but are expected to decline as incentives are no longer needed to attract tenants, especially in the Central Business District submarket.

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