MIAMI-Flat. That’s the keyword in nearly every commercial marketin Dade County. So says the Colliers International South Q3 2010Commercial Real Estate Overview. But flat is good news compared tothe consistent declines of the past few quarters.

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New office product in Dade County is hitting a plateau, but it’sa long way off from market norms. Then again, some say the currentmarket represents the new norm, with vacancy rates just above 15%and average asking lease rates trending between $30 and $31 persquare foot for the last 18 months.

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“The market is gradually looking better,” Alex Morcate, a seniorfinancial analyst at Colliers International South Florida, tellsGlobeSt.com. “That’s difficult to swallow because it doesn’t feelbetter. But there is more transaction volume in 2010 compared to2008 and 2009. More sales and leases are getting done.”

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Wells Fargo inked the largest new lease in the third quarter,taking down 75,000 square feet at the former Met 2 FinancialCenter. Wells Fargo won naming rights to the building, which is nowknown as Wells Fargo Center. The two largest single-asset sales inthe quarter were both distressed: Park Square Doral sold for $27.5million and Miami Green Tower sold for $39 million.

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On the industrial front, vacancy rates fell to 9.5% in DadeCounty. However, rental rates are still declining as landlordscompete for tenants. The currently asking rental rate is about$7.50 per square foot. There is no new construction activity, andnothing in the pipeline for the next 12 months.

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Bel inked the largest lease deal of the third quarter, takingdown 340,000 square feet at the Lincoln Logistics Park in Medley.AMB made the largest industrial purchase, acquiring Palmetto Parkfor $66.75 million from TA Associates in August.

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Retail vacancy rates are holding steady at about 6%, one of thelowest in the state. Dade County saw 100,000 square feet ofpositive retail space absorption in the third quarter, with askingrents at about $22.50 per square foot. That’s a 10% decline from ayear ago. The largest retail transaction of the year happened inthird quarter: Country Walk Plaza, a 100,000-square-foot shoppingcenter, sold for $275 per square foot with a cap rate of less than6%.

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“The general conversation these days is that things aren’t asbad as they were last year,” Morcate says. “The tone may shiftdepending on who you are talking to, but it’s flat and flat isbetter than down. We expect a drawn out correction over the nextcoupe of quarters, and then slow growth. It’s going to take a longtime to get back to what we once considered good.”

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