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BOSTON-There are signs the area industrial market may have bottomed out, according to a report by Grubb & Ellis. The vacancy rate across all submarkets and product types nudged up to 11.1% in the first quarter, according to the real estate firm, which believes the worst may be over.

For instance, a slowdown in mergers and acquisitions has put the brakes on space consolidations.

Now is a good time for tenants to lock in lease rates that are unlikely to drop much further, the firm suggests. The area of greatest opportunity for tenants may be those renting research and development or flex space in the 62.2-million-sf North submarket, where vacancy jumped more than two points since the beginning of the year to 16.2%, which negative net absorption of 560,574 sf. Meanwhile, though, that type of space is available at an average asking rent of $12.42 per sf, the priciest in the market, despite another 371,870 sf under construction.

At the other end of the spectrum, the Central submarket is the tightest at 7.6%, inflated by a 17% vacancy rate for research and development space. Meanwhile, vacancy for warehouse and industrial space is less than 3% in the area’s smallest submarket at 15.8 million sf. The 293,775 sf of absorption of warehouse space in the Central submarket was the best mark posted in the quarter after the 307,511 sf of industrial space absorbed in the North submarket.

Some of the larger shifts in the first quarter were United Liquors’ move from 315,000 sf in West Bridgewater to a new 484,000-sf facility in Braintree, NECCO’s taking 288,000 sf in Revere and Home Depot taking 236,000 sf in Norwood.

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