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DENVER-The Denver-area office market, just like it did in the late 1980s, has the dubious distinction of having the lowest rates among major markets across the country.And rates only deteriorated in the third quarter, shows the latest report by Studley.

The overall rate is $16.72 per sf, a decline of 33 cents or 2% from the second quarter, the report notes. And that is a 20% decrease from the peak that occurred during the second quarter of 2001.

Class A rents fell slightly to $18.90 from $19.12 in the second quarter.Again, much like the energy bust of the ’80s, tenants continue to play “musical buildings” to secure lower rents, the report notes. This allows Class B tenants to move into Class A space at Class B prices.

“This upward mobility trend contributed to a slight decrease in available Class A space and a slight increase in Class B space compared to the previous quarter,” Studley’s report notes. “It is anticipated that the trend will continue as long as rates remain at such attractively low levels.”

The overall availability rate is 25.3%. The lowest overall rate is in the small Midtown market, where only 10% of the space is available, according to Studley.

The one bright spot in the report is that Denver appears to be mirroring the national economy, which is showing signs of improving. But landlords need to see job creation to see a significant improvement.

“Until Denver’s unemployment rate turns around, Denver’s leasing market is not expected to improve,” according to the Studley report.

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