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LOS ANGELES-Southern California’s office market may wind up getting a boost from the September terrorist attacks on the East Coast, a new study says, as future growth in the region’s all-important defense and technology sectors offsets trouble in the airline industry and other businesses that don’t play such a major role in the marketplace.

An advance copy of the report, which is expected to be released to the rest of the media next week, was provided to GlobeSt.com by Delta Associates Inc. Delta is the research affiliate of Chicago-based property giant Transwestern Commercial Services.

“We expect modest, positive impact on the LA/Orange County office market from the ‘war on terrorism,’” the Delta report says. “These impacts are likely to come from increased defense, security and technology spending by the public and private sectors.”

Tong Saetia, research director in Delta’s western region headquarters in Downtown LA, acknowledges that many other key Southern California industries — including travel, tourism, airline and port operations — have already been hurt by the September attacks. But those businesses “don’t generate nearly as much office demand as defense, security and technology end-users,” Saetia tells GlobeSt.com.Saetia also notes that the LA/Orange County region enjoyed positive net absorption of 686,000 sf of office space in the third quarter, even as absorption in many other parts of the nation fell. The third-quarter gain followed an even stronger 880,000-sf absorption level in the second quarter, and stands in sharp contrast to the negative 978,000-sf level in the first three months of the year.

Despite the completion of several new projects in the area in the 90 days ended Sept. 30, the third-quarter vacancy rate rose only slightly — to 10.6% from 10.5% at mid-year. When sublet space is factored in, the vacancy rate stood at 12.7% compared to 12.5% at mid-year.

Class A office asking rents in the area now average $2.18 psf a month, the Delta Associates report says, and are growing at a 2.1% annual clip.

When looked at separately, the LA market is clearly faring better than Orange County. For example, LA’s direct office vacancy rate actually dropped to 10.4% in the third quarter from 10.6% at mid-year even as Orange County’s rose to 11.1% from 10.3%.

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