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Office Vacancies Turn Around
CNBC.com | June 03, 2010 | 02:25 PM EDT

So funny how news happens.

I have been working with CoStar Group , "the number one provider of information, marketing and analytic services to commercial real estate professionals in the United States," according to its pr types, on an interesting phenomenon in the office space: Shadow inventory. Unlike foreclosed homes, in office, this is when the full space is leased, but several actual offices or desks are vacant.

Unlike during the .com bust, when companies shut down and vacated their spaces entirely, this recession has been marked by companies downsizing.

They lay off, say, 5 percent of their work force, and those offices and desks just sit empty.

Of course many companies went out of business entirely, which drove the vacancy rate higher overall, but when we're talking about big city office space, big companies retained a lot of full space.

Check out some interesting charts.

Anyway, CoStar's CEO Andrew Florance arrived this morning for the interview on this phenomenon, but like the cat that ate the canary, said, "Before we start, I think we have some news for you."

At about 1am today, after all their data had run through whatever data system it runs through, they learned that the office vacancy rate had turned for the first time since Q3 2007. Not by a lot, mind you; just 6 basis points, from 13.86 percent to 13.79 percent. Jobs are coming back.

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