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CHICAGO-While the overall vacancy rate in the suburbs has been nudged down to 16% including sublease space, it is not enough to justify rent increases, according to a report by Delta Associates. The research arm of Transwestern Commercial Services says suburban office rents have dropped a full percentage so far this year, with class-A space commanding 2% less.

“Persistently high vacancy is maintaining downward pressure on rents,” according to Delta Associates.

The 15.5-million-sf O’Hare submarket remains the hardest hit by the prolonged office slump, with vacancy including sublease space standing at 23.3% at the end of the third quarter. Although vacancy in the far north suburbs approaches that of the O’Hare area, the 34-million-sf north suburban submarket remains the strongest in the 172-million-sf suburban market with an overall vacancy rate of 14.3%.

The largest suburban submarket, the 44.7-million-sf East-West Corridor, has an 18.1% overall vacancy rate, according to Delta Associates. The northwest suburban submarket, nearly 40 million sf, had an overall vacancy rate of 15.8%.

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