ORANGE COUNTY, CA-The county’s office market continued to struggle in the third quarter, posting negative net absorption for the third straight quarter this year in response to the ongoing effects of the credit crunch and the mortgage meltdown. Despite the signing of some large deals during the quarter, the office market overall registered higher vacancy, lower asking rates and an increase in total space available.

Third-quarter statistics from Voit Commercial Brokerage showed the county’s office market posting 361,184 sf of negative net absorption in the third quarter, while CB Richard Ellis reported negative net of 392,000 sf. Voit lists the direct vacancy rate at 14.85%, including both direct and sublease space that’s empty, compared with last year’s third-quarter rate of 10.53%; CBRE calculates the vacancy rate at 15.4%.

The two firms come in very close on the overall availability of space, too. Voit pegs it at 20.95% for the third quarter, up from 15.11% in the third quarter of last year, while CBRE figures it at 20.6%. The figures vary slightly because the two firms track different inventories, with Voit listing nearly 108 million sf of office space in the county and CBRE tracking about 100 million sf.

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