The office availability rate throughout this ten-county regiondecreased slightly to 23.87% at the end of December, from 23.94% inthe third quarter, with tenants more inclined to start the initialrelocation/renewal process than in the past few quarters.

Meanwhile, FirstService Williams research shows that landlordsare continuing to list rents as negotiable as overall rentsdecreased to $23.51, down from $23.90 the previous quarter, andlease executions are still taking longer than historical norms.

The perception of a number of tenants is that overall officemarket conditions will continue to decline before improving, withvery few compelling reasons to relocate in what they still see as asoft market. In response, some landlords are continuing to offerrent concessions and, overall, are more inclined to executeshort-term leases, enabling them to ride out the tenant's marketwhile collecting rent rather than locking into long-term,discounted rental rates.

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