Office Buildings: The `Vacancy' Sign Is Still Out

The recession is still taking its toll on commercial real estate, reports Cushman & Wakefield Inc. Despite a dramatic fall in construction, the firm says the national vacancy rate in central business districts rose to 18.8% at the end of 1991, up from 17.6% at yearend 1990. The rate for suburban business premises increased slightly, from 21.1% to 21.4%, in the same period.

There are some scattered signs of stability. Asking rents have risen a bit in downtown Houston, and vacancy rates have fallen slightly in Houston, Washington, and San Francisco--as well as in most Southern suburban areas.

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