As Unemployment Goes, So Goes Commercial Real Estate

By Bonnie Erbe, Thomas Jefferson Street blog.

The unemployment rate was, while not unexpected, certainly the worst economic news to come out recently. At 8.5 percent, we're nearing the rates in developing nations. Maybe we'll BE a developing nation if companies keep shedding jobs.

But I point your attention to something else they are dumping: real estate.

Calculatedrisk.com quotes the Wall Street Journal:

Companies struggling to cut costs dumped a near-record 25 million square feet of office space in the first quarter, driving vacancy up and rents down, according to data to be released today by Reis Inc.

...

The office vacancy rate nationwide rose to 15.2% from 14.5% in the previous quarter, and likely will surpass 19.3% over the next year, according to Reis, a New York firm that tracks commercial property. That would put the vacancy rate above the level during the real-estate bust of the early 1990s, the worst on record.

Not that many companies want to be in downtown areas anymore (after 9/11 even financial firms fled Wall Street for the 'burbs) but companies that do are sitting pretty to cut some inexpensive deals. Gotta look for silver linings somewhere...

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By Bonnie Erbe
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