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WASHINGTON, DC-While a handful of commercial real estate markets around the country–Orange County, CA and Washington, DC, to name a couple–have been able to thrive and keep vacancies down to an acceptable level throughout the lackluster economy, most markets have not been so fortunate, but things are about to take a turn for the better. In its Commercial Real Estate Quarterly, the National Association of Realtors has revealed that the call for space ranging from office to multifamily is going to increase this year and next year.

NAR’s study covered 54 metropolitan markets across the country, surveying office, retail, warehouse and multifamily sectors. The news is good on all fronts, and the slow but sure turnaround in the economy and the increase in job creation are responsible. “We could see an average of 210,000 to 240,000 new jobs per month over the next two years, which will create additional demand for commercial real estate,” NAR chief economist David Lereah notes.

And while vacancies in some sectors will increase slightly this year, come 2005, vacancies in all sectors will decrease and rents will climb. In the office arena, net absorption will reach an estimated 77.6 million sf; nearly triple the 28.2 million sf seen in 2003. Retail space absorption will go from 77.9 million sf in 2003 to 102.7 million sf in 2004, and the numbers for warehouse properties will go from 72.3 million sf to 92.6 million sf this year. There is no exception to the rule when it comes to the multifamily market; net absorption this year will reach 143,900 units compared to 131,500 units in 2003.

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