Newark's office market did better than average in 2012.

PARSIPPANY, NJ-In Jones Lang LaSalle’s year-end report, the company says that New Jersey’s office market had its scantest absorption of office space in three years during 2012 – just 10,345 square feet.

In the three years since 2009, when a whopping 3.8 million square feet of vacant space flooded the market, a total of less than 2.1 million square feet has been absorbed.

In line with all that, the Parsippany-based company’s early forecast for 2013 is not exactly rousing:

“While employers in many business sectors are still reluctant to add to their payrolls and make capital investments, we expect to see increased leasing activity in 2013,” said Stephen Jenco, JLL’s researcher for suburban markets in the Tri-State area.

“Although the picture is somewhat unclear,” Jenco said in his report, “we foresee savvy landlords focusing their efforts on tenant retention and extensions instead of new transactions.”

JLL’s Q4 statistics showed:

  • The statewide total office vacancy rate was 25.5%, compared to 25.6% in Q3. Central Jersey’s rate was higher at 28.2, while 23.7% of space was vacant in northern New Jersey.
  • Average asking rents throughout the state fell to $23.65 per square foot, compared with $23.82 in the third quarter. The declining overall rate was attributed to lower rents for Class B buildings, which dropped more than $0.80 from 2011 to $19.95 per square foot, while the Class A average rent remained virtually the same, at $26.25 per square foot. 
  • Newark and the Hudson River waterfront reported the lowest vacancy rates at year-end — 8.2% and 10.9% — and had the highest average rental rates: $33.61 per square foot and $35.88 per square foot, respectively.