July 7, 2009

Vacancies climb in nation’s capital

The nation's capital district and outlying areas of Maryland and Virginia have turned the area into a renter's market, a real estate research report said.

A quarterly study by CB Richard Ellis said vacancy rates climbed to 10.2 percent in the capital district in the second quarter, topping 10 percent for the first time since 1997, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.

In Northern Virginia, vacancy rates stand at 13.9 percent. In nearby Maryland, vacancy rates climbed from 13.1 percent to 13.9 percent in the second quarter.

Pressured by unsigned leases, rental rates dropped from $49.59 per square foot in the capital to $49.13 per square foot during the quarter.

We're working as advocates for our clients to reduce rates, said Mary Lynch, vice president of Akridge, a commercial property management firm.

Ernie Jarvis, managing director of CB Richard Ellis in Washington said a turnaround could coincide with an influx of federal stimulus funding, which is beginning to flow into the area.

We're seeing a number of large-scale Department of Transportation contractors seeking real estate office space within proximity to the DOT headquarters Jarvis said.