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DENVER-Despite all of the publicity it is getting, the Denver-area office market is improving, according to a first-quarter report by CB Richard Ellis.

The report says that leasing activity is up 28% to 2.2 million sf from the first quarter, despite the war in Iraq causing deals to be sidelined.

And while there was 149,068 sf of negative absorption in the first quarter, that was less than one-seventh the amount a year earlier, according to the CB Richard Ellis report. Five submarkets, including downtown, experienced a total of 353,000 sf of positive net absorption, and for the third straight quarter, the amount of available subleased space dropped.

The overall vacancy rate is 17.8%. The average asking lease rate of $15.85 has dropped from a year earlier.

The report also says that job growth in the office labor force should be positive through year-end 2004. Growth within the important finance, insurance and real estate sectors, however, is not expected to increase until next year, according to the report’s statistics.

But, the long-term outlook for the market appears positive. “Barring unforeseen domestic or global events the Denver office market appears poised to strengthen and improve over the next couple of years,” as indicated by the CB report.

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