PORTLAND, OR— Nearly one quarter of all downtown office lease transactions for 2012 were for tech companies seeking a creative office environment, including high ceilings, daylight, open office space, and exposed mechanicals.

The sector is driving the next generation of office space design, according to a fourth-quarter office report by CBRE Inc., the city’s largest real estate brokerage, cited by the Portland Business Journal.

Across the city, CBRE said the office vacancy rate for the region’s 45.1 million square feet of office space dropped to 14.8 percent at the end of the year, the first time it dipped below 15 percent. In the central busines district, the vacancy rate for all classes of office space leveled off at 0.3 percent, reversing a three-quarter increase that began earlier in the year.

The average asking rate for downtown rose to $22.45, driven mostly by increases attributed to Class A and B buildings.

The suburban market posted its third quarter of decreasing vacancies, ending the year at 18.9 percent.

Click Portland Business Journal for the complete story.