"The Jacksonville investment market will remain active during2008, as buying activity is driven by investors seeking to placecapital within an improving metro," says Steven Ekovich, regionalmanager of Marcus & Millichap's Jacksonville office.

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First-quarter results seem to support predictions of improvedconditions. According to a CB Richard Ellis office market reportfor Jacksonville, vacancy declined slightly through the first threemonths of this year to 13.3%, down from 13.8% during the sameperiod in 2007. Although lower than in previous quarters, netabsorption within Jacksonville's office market remained positive atapproximately 26,342 sf, according to the report.

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Average asking rents dropped slightly during the first quarter,dropping from $18.42 to $18.19 per sf after remaining stablethroughout 2007, according to CBRE. Asking rents for class A spacein Downtown Jacksonville remained at approximately $20 per sf.

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CBRE takes a somewhat dimmer view of the prospects for 2008,predicting that sublease space coming to the market will impactvacancy rates. "Although the vacancy rate has remained stable sincelast year at this time, we are seeing an increase in sublease spaceand this will affect the vacancy rate in the upcoming quarters,"says senior associate Traci Jenks.

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