SEATTLE- Retail vacancy rates remained largely unchanged through the first half of 2001, according to the latest report from CB Richard Ellis. Overall regional vacancy rates were up 0.12% from the end of 2000 to 2.8%, keeping selections quite slim in most submarkets, according to the report. Overall absorption was a negative 87,674 sf.

Experiencing the smallest change through the first half of the year was the Downtown submarket. The vacancy rate there rose 0.16% from the last half of 2000 to 1.7%. The Northend submarket is reporting almost a full percent increase in vacancy to 3.4%, giving it the highest vacancy rate of all the submarkets.

The Eastside submarket had the only decrease in vacancy. It slipped from 2.28% at the end of 2000 to 1.7% in the first half of 2001. Vacancy rates in the Southend rose only slightly, from 3.15% to 3.3%.

While vacancy rates eased slightly during the first half of the year, region-wide average annual asking lease rates rose by about $1.50 per sf to $22.88. The biggest increase was on the Eastside, where average lease rates climbed almost $3.00 per sf to $26.85. In the Northend, rates rose slightly from $23.68 at the end of 2000 to $24.52 per sf today.

In the Southend, rates remained largely the same, increasing a penny to $18.16. Along with an increase in vacancy, Downtown asking lease rates also rose to $35.74; up from $33.12 last half.

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