2015 Q2 Office Columbia Report

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Historically High Occupancy and Rental Rates

Key Takeaways

  • Office space continues to be absorbed throughout the Columbia, South Carolina office market, which ended the second quarter of 2015 with the lowest vacancy rate in over half a decade.
  • The average asking rental rate for office space in Columbia, SC increased for a tenth consecutive quarter, reaching historically high levels.
  • Some tenants are opting for suburban office space as options in the Central Business District remain limited. 
  • Employment is growing throughout the Columbia, SC MSA with office-using employment surpassing pre-recession levels.

Market Overview

The Columbia, SC office market is setting records, embracing the highest occupancy in over half a decade along with the highest rental rates ever witnessed.  The market ended the second quarter of 2015 with a total vacancy rate of 16.6%, down from 17.3% at the end of the first quarter of 2015 and 17.4% one year ago.  Large blocks of contiguous Class A office space are becoming increasingly difficult to find.  The Central Business District and St. Andrews submarkets, which have seen the greatest amount of activity in recent quarters, hold the lowest Class A vacancy rates at 10.5% and 9.0%, respectively.

Asking rental rates averaged $16.12 per square foot per year for the market, increasing 8.1% in two years.  Asking rental rates for Class A and B office space averaged $19.72 and $16.11, respectively, for the market, increasing 6.0% and 4.5% since mid-year 2013.

Given the high occupancy and rental rates throughout the market, landlords are taking control of the market offering very few concessions, if any.  Tenants are competing for available space while landlords push rates upwards.  The days of offering incentives to attract prospective tenants are in the past.

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Columbia office report

2015 Q2 Office Columbia Report

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