ORLANDO-Showroom/flex space in 63 south Orange County buildings totaling 6.7 million sf is at the highest vacancy level in nine years–17.1%, up from 16.7% in the first quarter and showing no signs of filling the empty space.

That’s the latest findings of Maitland, FL-based Rebman Properties Inc. which notes the service center market is leasing space at an annualized rate of 225,000 sf.

At that rate, it will take the market five years to use up its inventory, the report says. A total 44,000 sf was leased in the second quarter. No lease was over 15,000 sf.

George D. Livingston, president, Central Florida chapter, National Association of Office and Industrial properties, isn’t surprised at the leasing numbers because job growth in metro Orlando is stagnant.

“May employment data shows there were no new jobs created in the area during the month,” Livingston tells GlobeSt.com. “Moreover, there is a net decline of 9,600 jobs since Jan. 1.”

If the trend continues, “it could have negative long-term effects on Central Florida’s commercial real estate market,” says Livingston. He is also founder/chairman of Realvest Partners Inc., a Maitland, FL firm which develops and owns industrial properties.

“Jobs drive population growth and population and employment growth drive the commercial real estate industry,” he says.

Area job growth figures are Central Florida’s “most important economic indicators and local and state officials should be eyeing them closely,” Livingston says.

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