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PHILADELPHIA-Despite a troubled stock market and uncertain economic news both locally and nationally, the overall Pittsburgh office market remains stable, according to Mark A. Jablonski, research director of the Pittsburgh Insignia Oxford office. The availability rate in the Greater CBD rose slightly to 23.6% in second-quarter 2002, while availability in the suburban market increased just one-half a percentage point to 19.9%.

The research shows that effective rental rates in the CBD in second quarter dropped to an average asking rate of $18.83 per sf, down from an average of $19.63 per sf at the end of March 2002. During the same period, in the Greater CBD, the average fell to $17.73 per sf, from $18.07 per sf in the previous quarter.

By contrast, office rental rates in the Oakland submarket showed a significant increase in second quarter. The asking average was $19.60 per sf, compared with an average asking rate of $17.90 per sf at the end of March.

Asking rentals in the suburban markets remained essentially flat. In the north submarket, the second-quarter average asking rate was $18.15 per sf, down just $0.31 from the previous quarter. In the south submarket the average slipped two cents to $18.06 per sf. The east submarket was down $0.03 to an average of $16.16 per sf, and the west submarket lost a dime to average $18.77 per sf in second quarter.

Declines in construction helped the market maintain stability. Total office construction in second quarter dropped by 27.8%, compared with the previous quarter, according to the research. It dropped a significant 48.5% from the same period in 2000.

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